Pterygium & Pinguecula Treatment
Pterygia and pingueculae are both growths that occur on the surface of the eye – most likely caused by long-term exposure to sunlight and dusty conditions. You can learn more about pterygium and pinguecula here.
The good news is that you can get rid your eyes of these unsightly, irritating and potentially sight-threatening growths.
Preventing a pterygium or pinguecula
As with most conditions, prevention is better than cure, and you can help prevent these 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 help to limit the progression of growths after you have been diagnosed.
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 close supervision of your ophthalmologist, as they may have side effects.
It is performed under local anaesthetic, and only takes 30 to 40 minutes.
What to expect from pterygium surgery
Your surgeon will carefully remove the pterygium from your eye, and cover the area with a small graft of your own healthy conjunctiva. You shouldn’t feel any pain or major 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 stiches to aid healing and comfort. You can discuss this with your surgeon.
What to expect from pinguecula surgery
Because a pinguecula will not grow across your cornea in the same way that a pterygium can, surgery is seldom used to remove a pinguecula. However, if the pinguecula becomes a pterygium, or grows very large and does not respond to eye drops, a simple surgical procedure can be used to remove it.