Pterygium is hyperplastic fibro-vascular conjunctival tissue (fold and thickening of conjunctiva with blood vessels) that has growth tendency through cornea therefore leading to decrease of visual acuity.
Usually, triangular in shape, with basis at the edge of cornea (limbus). Initially, it does not cause any discomfort, but during time it starts causing persisting irritation and redness, and once reaching limbus (corneal edge) greater problems occur that can lead to corneal damage, inducing astigmatismus (cylinder) and fall of vision.
Etiology and causes unknown, but some relating conditions are:
- constant and long-lasting UV and other radiation exposure,
- dust and wind exposure,
- constant eye irritation,
- therefore more present in people who spend majority of time outside (athletes- tennis players, socker- players, motor bikers , farmers…).
As a prevention recommendation is wearing of high quality protective eyewear. In case pterygium develops further, treatment is surgical. The goal is to remove this ‘’conjunctival fold’’ in time before it consumes greater part of cornea. That way the vision can be preserved and also is decreased chance of recurrence.
Prolonging the surgical treatment to the point when pterygium consumes greater part of cornea, patient will experience visual discomfort and occurrence of astigmatism. Surgical procedure in this stadium involves ‘’corneal ablation’’, that will produce certain degree of astigmatism (cylinder).
In such advanced stadium of pterygium recurrence can be expected (repeated growth).
Today in practice are surgical techniques and medications applied topically in order to reduce chance of recurrence.