Pterygium or “surfer’s eye” is an abnormal growth of the conjunctiva on the cornea. It occurs most frequently on the nose side of the eye but can also appear on the opposite side. It can affect one or both eyes.
The main risk factor for developing pterygium is exposure to the sun and very dry air or wind which is why it occurs in the area between the eyelids.
What are the symptoms of pterygium?
Pterygium appears as a whitish, elevated area on the internal and/or external edges of the cornea. The symptoms mainly depend on the size of the lesion. The smallest pterygiums may not show any symptoms but as they get bigger they can cause discomfort, reddening of the eye, watery eyes and a sense of feeling under the weather.
In particularly severe cases, sight can become reduced if the pterygium causes a significant astigmatism or if it covers the pupil affecting the eye’s visual axis.
How can pterygium be treated?
Small lesions do not generally require any treatment and can be managed with a lubricating eye drops.
More developed cases require surgery. Currently the most popular technique is conjunctival autograft surgery which involves removing the pterygium and putting a healthy section of the patient’s own conjunctiva in its place. In order to carry out this conjunctival autograft, our technique uses a biological adhesive that minimises inflammatory response and reduces the risk of recurrence.