Often called ‘surfer’s eye’ but commonly affecting anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, a pterygium (pronounced ‘tur-IJ-gee-um’) is a wholly benign, fleshy tissue growth on the surface of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines your eyelids and covers your eyeball.
It typically forms in the corner of the eye closest to your nose and can often extend across the surface of the cornea.
Though they can look a little scary they’re largely harmless, but they can grow across your pupil and cause vision problems – most famously to premier NZ cricketer Ross Taylor. (While flogging 290 against Australia in 2015, he had to take regular breaks to insert eye drops, then had the growth successfully removed.)
There are two ways to treat pterygia depending on their nature, symptoms and size - either eye drops or surgery. (Or in Ross Taylor’s case, both.)
Eye drops are used to reduce irritation and redness and, if dryness of the eye is a problem, for lubrication as well.
Surgery is performed if a person’s vision starts to become affected. The pterygium is carefully removed and a healthy conjunctival graft is put over the area and secured in place with advanced tissue-glue. No need for sutures any more. This leads to faster healing, more comfort and healthier, brighter looking eyes.
Questions? We’re here to help make things super clear.
If you’re getting symptoms like irritation or itching in the eye, redness, burning, and blurred vision give our friendly team a call. They can answer any questions you have.
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