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Pterygium is a condition in which an abnormal, non-cancerous growth of the eye occurs. A pterygium typically begins in the sclera (the white part of the eye) near the nose, and begins growing slowly towards the cornea (the clear part of the eye). When this occurs, it typically causes redness and irritation. In severe cases, a pterygium may even obscure the vision.

Pterygium removal has advanced greatly over the last ten years. There was a time when eye surgeons believed pterygium to be untreatable. Eventually, pterygium surgery was found to be successful, but had a high rate of recurrence at about 50 percent. Modern techniques make pterygium removal more successful, safer, and more comfortable for the patient with a lower risk of recurrence.

Pterygium surgery is an outpatient procedure that leaves the patient’s eye clearer and less irritated. The surgery itself may be covered by insurance if it can be shown that the pterygium affects the patient’s vision, but whether or not it is insured it will result in better appearance of the eye. The process of removing a pterygium involves the use of amniotic membrane, fibrin tissue adhesive, and a conjunctival autograft. This surgical technique is designed to lessen inflammation to the underlying Tenon’s fascia from which pterygium growth is postulated (although not proven) to emerge. Implementing these three surgical steps lowers recurrence of pterygium to less than one percent.

If you have a pterygium, contact San Antonio Eye Specialists to learn more about having it removed!