Pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye,” is an elevated, wedged-shaped bump on the eyeball that can cause tearing, blurry vision, and in some cases, astigmatism. Pterygium occurs from ongoing UV light damage to the tissue underneath the white of the eye, as well as excessive exposure to wind and dirt. Although benign, pterygium can cause discomfort. In this blog post, the eye experts at Laser Eye Center review the treatment options for pterygium.
Lubricants and Eye Drops
A comprehensive eye exam with one of our trusted eye doctors can detect a pterygium growth and determine the best treatment option for you. If a pterygium is small, your eye doctor may prescribe lubricants or eye drops to reduce symptoms such as swelling and redness. Topical cyclosporine is also another option, which is also commonly used to treat chronic dry eye disease.
For some people, pterygium can interfere with vision and permanently disfigure the eye. In these cases, surgery can remove the pterygium and restore vision. During surgery, the pterygium is removed along with the eye tissue that covers the clear mucous membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids, also known as the conjunctiva. Next, your eye surgeon will place and adhere a piece of surface eye tissue onto the affected area, a process called autologous conjunctival autografting. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and patients are fully recovered in a couple of days.
How to Prevent Pterygium Regrowth
Unfortunately, pterygium growths can reoccur. Your eye surgeon may prescribe eye drops for several weeks to decrease prevent regrowth as well as swelling.
The best way to prevent pterygium from recurring is to protect your eyes from the sun. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when outdoors:
- Always choose sunglasses that offer 100 percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses that come with a “UV 400” label are also a great option because they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which include the tiniest of rays.
- Sunglasses that curve around the head (wraparound glasses) minimize your eyes’ exposure to the sun by blocking UV light from reaching the eyes from the side of the face. Large frame sunglasses can also offer more protection against the sun, so long they still offer 100 percent UV protection.
- Performance sunglasses offer sun protection and are ideal for outdoor activities such as bike riding and kayaking. Performance glasses also help shield the eyes from wind and dirt.
Contact Laser Eye Center Today
To learn more about pterygium, schedule an appointment with Laser Eye Center. One of our friendly eye doctors will be happy to answer all of your questions. Please contact us by calling 800-80-LASER (52737) today.