You can treat the irritation and redness caused by a pterygium or pinguecula with simple eye drops, such as Systane Plus or Blink lubricants.
If you suffer from inflammation, a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drops (e.g. Acular, Voltaren Ophtha) may help.
Steroid eye drops can also be used in some cases, but only under the close supervision of your ophthalmologist, as they may have side effects.
In more serious cases, we recommend surgery to remove your pterygium.
The surgery takes just 30 to 40 minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic.
Your surgeon will carefully remove the pterygium from your eye, and cover the area with a small graft of your own healthy conjunctiva. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort during surgery, though your eye will feel scratchy for a few days afterwards, and will be red for a couple of weeks. You’ll need to use eye drops for about a month, and any stitches used will dissolve naturally. Natural tissue glue is often used now instead of stitches to aid healing and comfort. You can discuss this with your surgeon.
A pinguecula will not grow across your cornea in the same way that a pterygium can. Therefore, we seldom use surgery to remove a pinguecula. However, suppose the pinguecula becomes a pterygium, or grows very large and does not respond to eye drops. In that case, a simple surgical procedure can be used to remove it.
As with most conditions, prevention is better than cure. You can help prevent pterygium and pinguecula from developing by wearing sunglasses and a hat outdoors. People who spend a lot of time on water or snow should be especially careful to protect their eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light. Protecting your eyes against UV light can also limit the progression of growths after being diagnosed.
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At your consultation, we’ll diagnose your issues, answer your questions and give you a clear recommendation based on your needs. You’ll confidently leave with a clear understanding of your treatment options.
After treatment, people often tell us how pleased they were that they took action when they did. They’re often so glad that they reached out so that we could address their concerns and help them resolve their troublesome eye condition.
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As part of his ophthalmology specialty training, Dr Dunne gained valuable experience in major centres such as Auckland and Wellington, with a final two years undertaking Medical Retina advanced training based at the Greenlane Eye Clinic in Auckland. LEARN MORE
Pterygium surgery is a procedure performed to remove noncancerous conjunctiva growths (pterygia) from the eye.
The conjunctiva is the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. Some cases of a pterygium produce little to no symptoms. Severe overgrowth of conjunctiva tissue can cover the cornea and interfere with your vision.