Pterygium Excision Procedure
When the use of simple regular lubricants and changes of spectacles are no longer sufficient, then surgery may be warranted for the management of pterygium.
In this photo, the pterygium has an associated conjunctival cyst, which is even more likely to interfere with lubrication of the ocular surface Surgery involves careful removal of the pterygium from the cornea and adjacent nasal conjunctiva. In order to reduce the chances of recurrence, we usually repair the defect created by the excision, with an area of healthy conjunctiva taken from the same eye, under the upper eyelid. This is known as a conjunctival autograft. With our more advanced techniques, we are able to do this repair using special 'tissue glue' and thus without the need for stitches.
The surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic, often with the help of intravenous sedation (twilight anaesthesia). Patients can thus be discharged home the same day, with a pad over the eye, until the following morning. After the procedure is completed, you will be given a full explanation regarding post-operative drops and tablets and follow up care. A protective eye shield will have been placed over the treated eye to prevent you from rubbing your eye for the rest of the day and also whilst sleeping during the night. During the early post-operative period it is important not to squeeze or rub the eyes. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are used to prevent infection and decrease inflammation. Follow-up appointments typically take place after 1-2 weeks.
By about 4 - 6 weeks, the eye is looking much quieter. In this photograph, fluoroscein dye has been instilled to check the surface of the cornea. The ocular surface is now much more regular in contour and better lubricated. The centre of the cornea is no longer threatened by the pterygium.