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Pterygium refers to an abnormal tissue growth on the cornea; the anterior eye surface, which is normally transparent, without vessels and it is swelled up easily with sun exposition, wind or any other irritating agent. The people, who suffer this condition, have the sensation of having a strange element on the eye and it also produces a red eye appearance.

There are two important conditions for Pterygium development: a) that the patient is genetically susceptible for this disease, and b) the patient exposure to Ultraviolet radiation, especially solar radiation, without protection. These are the reasons why the Pterygium is often diagnosed on tropical zones and in places where the ultraviolet light is received perpendicular from the sun such as Ecuador.

Can the pterygium be avoided?

The easiest way to prevent Pterygium is a good sun protection through sunglasses with UV filter, use of hats or caps since childhood. In Ecuador, the sun radiation intensity is higher between 10h00 and 14h00, so it is recommended to always have a sun protection on those hours.

Pterygium Treatment

Surgery with conjunctival autograft technique

There is any pharmaceutical treatment (eye drops or medicines) that treat and make disappear that tissue. When the Pterygium causes discomfort on the patient or it is evident that it has evolved, it is menacing the pupil zone and it is blocking the sight, under these conditions is required to use surgery.

This procedure uses local anesthesia. The eye is opened with a retractor, it is located under a microscope and then it is asked the patient to see a specific point. The technique used in our center is a conjunctival autograft technique. This technique uses an implant or the patient’s own membrane. The autoimplant means that a small portion of the patient’s conjunctiva will be placed where be made the Pterygium excision which reduces the relapse possibilities (it avoids the re-appeareance of the pterygium). After the surgery will be place a patch, the eye will have a red appearance and this condition is going to be present for weeks until is completely recovered. The patient should have to take all the prescribed medicines and the usage of dark sunglasses for some time.

In Ecuador the UV light exposition significally affects our eyes, the sunglasses informal market without quality certifications and without UV filters reduces the sense of sight and generates eye diseases such as pterygium, cataract, irritation, among others.

Pterygium Surgery Explained – a Guide for Patients