A pterygium is a growth that can develop along the surface of the eye. As it spreads, it can distort or obstruct vision, and can even cause astigmatism. Dr. Tory Prestera and Dr. Kevin Garff can treat and eliminate pterygia carefully and effectively with pterygium surgery.
What Causes a Pterygium?
It is believed that overexposure to UV rays is the primary cause for the development of a pterygium, although living in dry or dusty climates may also be a contributing factor. This is why a pterygium is often referred to as a “surfer’s eye.” Living in North County, where we are close to the beach and enjoy plenty of sun throughout the year, it is important to protect our eyes with sunglasses to help prevent pterygia and other potential damage.
How Is a Pterygium Treated?
In cases where the pterygium is causing minor irritation and has not yet affected the cornea or obstructed vision, it can often be possible to treat with nonsurgical means, such as eye drops or ointments. However, larger pterygia that are causing vision impairment and significant discomfort will likely require surgical intervention.
Pterygium surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed by Dr. Prestera or Dr. Garff. The procedure itself only takes about 30-45 minutes to complete, but you will need to arrange transportation to and from your surgery, since light sedation will be used. Individuals who wear contact lenses may be asked to refrain from wearing lenses for at least 24 hours prior to pterygium surgery.
Once the pterygium has been removed, Dr. Prestera or Dr. Garff will carefully place a graft over the affected area to help minimize the chance of regrowth. Unfortunately, pterygia tend to have a high rate of recurrence, so Dr. Prestera and Dr. Garff recommend taking steps to protect your eyes from further exposure to UV rays, dust, and wind to reduce the chance of developing another pterygium.
What Is Recovery From Pterygium Surgery Like?
Following pterygium surgery, patients must wear a protective eye patch for a few hours. A follow-up appointment with Dr. Prestera or Dr. Garff will be scheduled for the day after surgery to ensure proper healing and recovery, but the remainder of the day should be spent relaxing at home. Most patients experience minimal discomfort after pterygium surgery, but any swelling or pain can typically be managed with over-the-counter medications and ice packs. Your surgeon can provide you with specific post-operative instructions based on your individual needs, but in general, patients can expect to resume most or all of their regular routine approximately a week after surgery.
Contact Prestera Eye Medical Group
If you are experiencing eye irritation and suspect you may be suffering from a pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye,” please contact Prestera Eye today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Prestera or Dr. Garff.