Pterygium

16 June, 2020

Pterygium is one of the common ocular surface disorders. Pterygium is basically a fibrovascular overgrowth of the subconjunctival  tissue, triangular in shape, and encroaching onto the cornea in the medial and lateral palpebral fissure The various known risk factors are immune mechanism, genetic predisposition, and chronic environmental irritation, which include UV (ultraviolet) rays, hot and dry weather, wind, dusty atmosphere, and the period of exposure to such conditions. However, the most common is the increased time of exposure to UV rays of the sunlight, followed by chronic eye irritation from dry and dusty conditions. Pinguecula and pterygium are growth on your eyes conjunctiva, the clear covering over the white part of the eye. Pinguecula is a yellowish, raised growth on the conjunctiva It's usually, on the side of the eye near your nose, but can happen on the other side too. A pinguecula  is a deposit of protein, fat, or calcium. Pterigium is growth of fleshy tissue (has blood vessels) that may start as a pinguecula.

How serious is it? 
A pterygium can lead to severe scarring on your cornea, but this is rare. Scarring on the cornea needs to be treated because it can cause vision loss. For minor cases, treatment usually involves eye drops or ointment to treat inflammation In the more serious cases, treatment can involve surgical removal of the pterygium 

How is it diagnosed? 
Diagnosing a pterygium is straightforward. Your eye doctor may diagnose this condition based on a physical examination using a slit lamp. When looking through the slip lamp, If the bump is white or pink and elongated or shaped like a wedge, it may be a flesh-like growth called a Pterygium. 
This lamp allows your doctor to see your eye with the help of magnification and bright lighting. If your doctor needs to do additional tests, they may include: 


❑ Visual acuity test. This test involves reading letters on an eye chart 
❑ Corneal topography. This medical mapping technique is used to measure curvature changes in your cornea 
❑  Photo documentation. This procedure involves taking pictures to track the growth rate of the pterygium. 
  
How is it treated? 

A pterygium usually doesn't require any treatment unless it's blocking your vision or causing severe discomfort. Your eye doctor might want to check your eyes occasionally to see if the growth is causing vision problems
 

Medications

If the pterygium is causing a lot of irritation or redness, your doctor may prescribe eye drops or eye ointments that contain corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. 

Surgery

Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the pterygium eye drops or ointments don't provide relief. Surgery is also done when pterygium causes a loss of vision a condition called astigmatism, which can result in blurry vision. You can also discuss , surgical procedures with your doctor if you want the pterygium removed fax for cosmetic reasons. 
There are a couple of risks associated with these operations. In some cases, a pterygium can return after being surgically removed. Your eye might also feta dry and irritated after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe medications to provide relief and reduce risk of having a pterygium grow back.

Prevention of getting pterygium

If possible, avoid exposure to environmental factors that can cause a pterygium, You can help prevent the development of a pterygium by wearing sunglasses or a hat to shield your eyes from sunlight, wind, and dust. Your sunglasses should also provide protection from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you already have a pterygium, limiting your exposure to the following can slow its growth: 
O wind
O dust
O smoke 
O sunlight
Avoiding these conditions can also help prevent pterygiums from coming back if you've had any moved. 

Avoiding pinguecula and pterygium 
If you had a pinguecula or a pterygium  at least once before, try to avoid the thing that cause these growths. Here are some ways: 

o Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) Li& 
o Wear a round hat whenever out in gig 
o Protect your eyes from dust by wearing glasses or goggle& 
o Use artificial tears when your eyes are dry 

Ragavan Purushothaman
Assistant Branch Manager - Vavuniya