Having a pterygium or pinguecula on your eye can be both annoying and unsightly. Not only do they cause redness and irritation, but if a pterygium spreads to your cornea, it can potentially damage your sight.
While pterygia and pinguecula are both growths that occur on the surface of the eye, most likely caused by long-term exposure to sunlight and dusty condition, they are slightly different.
The good news is you do not need to suffer the effects of a pterygium or pinguecula on your vision or appearance; Exeter Eye offer effective treatments to combat the effects of both conditions.
You can treat the irritation and redness caused by a pterygium or pinguecula with simple eye drops. If you suffer from inflammation, a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drops may help. Steroid eye drops can also be used in some cases, but only under close supervision of your ophthalmologist, as they may have side effects.
If a pterygium is affecting your vision or is particularly unsightly and cannot be managed with eye drops, pterygium surgery may be the answer. Our experienced surgeons at Exeter Eye can perform the operation in approximately one hour.
The most common surgical technique removes the pterygium and then uses a portion of your conjunctiva – the membrane that covers the white of the eye – to fill the empty space.
This procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes under local anaesthetic. Your surgeon will carefully remove the pterygium from your eye and cover the area with a small graft of your own tissue. You should not feel any pain or major discomfort during surgery; although your eye will feel scratchy for a few days afterwards and will be red for a couple of weeks.
Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home, as your eye may be sore. You will usually be prescribed eye drops to ease any discomfort and decrease inflammation. You may also need to wear an eye patch for a couple of days to protect your eye as it heals.
Usually you can return to normal activities after a few days, but avoid strenuous activity, swimming and rubbing your eye until it has healed. Attending follow up appointments with your eye care professional is essential to ensure proper healing and visual recovery. Ultimately, recovery varies from person to person.
Because a pinguecula will not grow across your cornea in the same way that a pterygium can, surgery is rarely used to remove a pinguecula. However, if the pinguecula becomes a pterygium, or grows very large and does not respond to eye drops, a simple surgical procedure can be used to remove it.
As with most conditions, prevention is better than cure, and you can help prevent a pterygium or pinguecula from developing by wearing sunglasses and a hat outdoors. People who spend a lot of time on the water or snow should be especially careful to protect their eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light. Protecting your eyes against UV light can also help to limit the progression of growths after you have been diagnosed.
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Exeter Eye is a specialist ophthalmic eye clinic treating all eye conditions and offering the very best in patient care and comfort. We always ensure we fully understand your condition and lifestyle before identifying your treatment options and then help you choose the best one for you.