Westminster Eye Center
Ophthalmologist & Glaucoma Specialist located in Westminster, CA
A pterygium, also called surfer’s eye, is a growth on the white part of your eye. Although it isn’t cancerous, a pterygium can be quite unsightly and uncomfortable. If you have a pterygium growth that’s causing vision problems or discomfort, surgical removal is often the best solution. At Westminster Eye Center in Westminster, California, expert ophthalmologist Christine Nguyen, MD, is a highly skilled surgeon who can remove the growth with minimally invasive outpatient pterygium surgery. Book your consultation online or by phone today.
Pterygium Surgery Q & A
What is a pterygium?
A pterygium is a fleshy ocular surface growth that's usually triangle-shaped. It often starts in the inner corner of your eye and then grows toward your pupil. It's common in men and women who spend a lot of time outdoors, as ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the underlying cause.
Pterygium is particularly common in surfers (and it's often called surfer's eye) because water reflects and intensifies UV rays to increase the risk even more. Dusty environments and windy conditions can also contribute to pterygium growth, as can dry eye.
What symptoms does a pterygium cause?
Usually, a pterygium doesn't hurt, but it can be embarrassingly prominent in your eye. A pterygium can grow large enough to affect your vision. A pterygium can sometimes cause astigmatism, which then causes blurry vision. You may also have symptoms like redness, swelling, and the sensation of a foreign body in your eye.
When do I need pterygium surgery?
Usually, nonsurgical treatment is the first approach for pterygium. Dr. Nguyen may initially prescribe lubricating eye drops or steroid eye drops if you have symptoms like swelling and redness. But, in the following cases, Dr. Nguyen may recommend surgery.
- Significant astigmatism
- Dramatic change in eye appearance
- Extreme eye irritation
- The pterygium threatens your eye structure
Dr. Nguyen is a highly experienced ophthalmic surgeon who will explain the ideal surgical approach for your needs and situation.
In all pterygium surgeries, the main goal is removing the growth while protecting your eye. After removing your pterygium, Dr. Nguyen may perform a small grafting procedure, in which she moves a small section of healthy eye tissue onto the surgical area to encourage healing and reduce the chances of pterygium regrowth.
How can I avoid pterygium recurrence?
Dr. Nguyen can recommend some guidelines specific to your situation, but in general, to avoid pterygium recurrence, you should:
- Avoid excessive UV exposure
- Wear sunglasses whenever outdoors
- Avoid dusty environments
- Use lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes moist
If you notice an increase in symptoms like eye irritation, swelling, and redness, schedule an appointment at Westminster Eye Center as soon as possible. Dr. Nguyen can prescribe treatment to help you avoid another pterygium.
For pterygium surgery from a specialist, call Westminster Eye Center or book an appointment online today.