What is a pterygium?

It is a growth that starts on the white part of the eye and goes over the cornea (clear part of the eye).

What causes it?

It is caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun.

How do we treat it?

If it’s small, not growing, not bothering the patient in any way we just observe it, along with some good sunglasses. If it grows or is bothersome then surgery is the only option. This is a surgery not to be taken lightly as there is a high percentage chance that it will come back.

Different surgical approaches:

There are multiple ways to remove it as there isn’t a perfect technique yet. Some simply remove it and leave it bare, others use Mitomycin to decrease the risk of recurrence and others do grafts, either from the same eye or from amniotic membrane from a donor. Every procedure has its pros and cons. The trend however is to try and remove as much of the Tenon membrane as possible.

Is surgery painful?

While it isn’t painful per say there definitely will be some discomfort for a few days. Most doctors give some kind of painkillers after the procedure.


There often will be a temporary contact lens on the eye, for a few days. There will also be drops, some to decrease the risk of infection and others to decrease discomfort.

What happens if it regrows?

With a regrowth most ophthalmologists will either do Mitomycin or a graft.