Pterygium

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If you have been diagnosed with a pterygium, or suspect you may have one, the experienced eye doctors and pterygium specialists at Fisher Eye & Laser Center in Naples, Florida offer pterygium treatment options.

What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a fleshy, atypical growth across the eye. A pterygium may be called a tumor, but it is benign (non-cancerous). These growths begin at the inner corner of the eye and spread across the conjunctiva, or white part of the eye. Pterygia are often called “surfer’s cataracts” or “surfer’s eye” because they occur most often among people who have frequent, long-term sun exposure. A pterygium may not cause any symptoms initially, but it can cause vision loss and discomfort if left untreated

Pterygium Symptoms

A patient with a pterygium will notice a growth of tissue, which typically starts small and gradually advances across the eye. If you have a pterygium you may not experience any symptoms at first, but eventually untreated pterygia can result in:

  • Distortion of vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Discoloration of the eye
  • Chronic eye irritation
  • Scarring along the tissues of the eye
  • What Causes a Pterygium?

    A pterygium is most often caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which makes it more common in areas that are very sunny, such as Naples and Fort Myers, Florida. People whose jobs or hobbies keep them outside are more likely to experience a pterygium. Being in or near water can create further risk, since the surface can reflect harsh sun rays onto the eyes. There may also be a hereditary component that makes some people predisposed. Pterygia occur more often in males than females, and are more frequently seen in patients over 40 years old.

    Pterygium Prevention

    The best way to prevent a pterygium is to protect your eyes whenever you are outside during the day. Make sure that your sunglasses are certified to block UV light (not all sunglasses are) and choose a style that fits closely or wraps around the face. A wide brimmed hat can also help protect your eyes. Make it a priority to have regular comprehensive eye exams to maintain your vision and eye health.

    Pterygium Treatment Options

    There are several treatment options available for pterygium, and the right option for you will depend on the severity of your pterygium, as well as your medical history and lifestyle. An ophthalmologist experienced in pterygium treatment can guide you to help you find the treatment plan that works best for you. At Fisher Eye & Laser Center, pterygium treatment options include:

  • Non-surgical Pterygium Treatment
  • Early intervention methods of treating pterygium without surgery can include eye drops and corticosteroid medication.

  • Pterygium Excision Surgery
  • Surgery is an option if non-surgical treatments fail to manage your pterygium, if your vision is impaired, or if you would like to remove a pterygium for cosmetic reasons. Pterygium surgery is often very effective and patients typically resume regular activities within a few days.

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