Pterygium is a painless, non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva, the lining that covers the white part of the eye. The pterygium may grow on the cornea, which covers the iris, the colored part of the eye. A pterygium usually begins at the nasal side of the eye and can be different colors, including red, pink, white, yellow or gray.
Patients with pterygium often first notice the condition because of the appearance of a lesion on their eye or because of dry, itchy irritation, tearing or redness. Pterygium is initially noticed when it is confined only to the conjunctiva. At this stage of development it is called a pinguecula. As it extends to the cornea it is termed a pterygium and can eventually lead to impaired vision.
Pterygium is a painless, non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva, the lining that covers the white part of the eye. The pterygium may grow on the cornea, which covers the iris, the colored part of the eye. In mild cases of pterygium, artificial tears can be used to reduce the dryness and irritation it causes.
For patients with severe cases of pterygium and whose vision has been affected, surgery known as a pterygiectomy is the only way to definitely remove this growth. This may be achieved through two different types of surgical procedures, either using tissue taken from another part of your body or an amniotic membrane graft.
Autologous conjunctival auto-grafting is a safe and effective technique to surgically remove a pterygium. The pterygium is removed as well as the conjunctival tissue covering the sclera. Tissue is removed from the inside of the patient’s upper eyelid to replace the tissue that is removed from the sclera.
Amniotic membrane graft (AMG) is another safe and effective procedure to remove a pterygium. Tissue is removed from an inner layer of the human placenta and is used to reconstruct the surface of the eye. This type of graft encourages healing and reduces swelling.