Pterygium is a condition that shows up as a growth on the white part of your eyeball, called the sclera. The bump is elevated and shaped like a wedge. Pterygium is colloquially called surfer’s eye because the most common cause of the condition is glare from the sun that’s multiplied when you’re on the water.

Pterygium usually isn’t cancerous, but it can cause disfigurement. The white bumps also can lead to blurry vision and pain. If the pterygium is small enough and not causing you any major discomfort, your ophthalmologist may just treat it with lubricating drops and keep a close watch on its progression. If, however, it begins to affect your vision, appearance or comfort, pterygium surgery may be the best option.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Previously, the surgery used to remove pterygium was called bare sclera because it left the whites of your eye open to reoccurrences. Regrowth used to occur in more than 50 percent of patients and very often the regrowth was bigger than the original bump. The latest techniques have reduced the rate of reoccurrence to anywhere from five to 40 percent, depending on how well you take care of your eyes following the pterygium surgery procedure.

Talk to your ophthalmologist about the various modern options available for surgery that have a much better chance of preventing regrowth or of doing even more damage to your eye. Most surgeries to remove pterygium typically take no more than about 30 minutes. The procedure is performed on an out-patient basis in your ophthalmologist’s office. You’re lightly sedated to help you relax, and your eye is totally numbed before the surgery. You won’t be able to see during the procedure.

Surgical Advancements