Pterygiums are accumulations of scar tissue in the corneal area. Pterygiums can cause a person to feel as if there is something stuck in their eye all the time. Many people with a pterygium experience itchiness, redness, or burning in the eye as well. In the case of very developed pterygiums, corneal distortion may occur. This, in turn, can lead to astigmatism.
The cause of pterygiums can vary. Some common causes include excess UV light exposure and over-exposure to dusty and/or windy environments.
Yes, there are solutions for pterygiums that are causing pain or discomfort. The best way to treat pterygiums is usually surgical removal. The surgery includes complete removal of the lesion. While the entire pterygium is removed during surgery, it can grow back. Therefore, the surgeon will typically graft healthy tissue to the area where the lesion was removed. This healthy tissue will integrate itself into the eye and will reduce the chances of regrowth dramatically. During this surgery, the patient will not be in pain because they will be under local anesthesia.
After pterygium surgery, it is very important for the patient to closely follow the eye doctor's recovery instructions. Patients can't drive immediately after the surgery, so they must have a friend or family member take them home. It is generally recommended that the patient takes at least a day for recovery by resting the eyes. The patient will use prescription eye drops for the next few weeks, but it is usually okay to resume most normal activities during this time. Eyes may be slightly red and swollen for several weeks, but this will fade away quickly. At the 3 to 6-week mark, the eyes will start to return to a healthy white appearance and the patient will no longer have the feeling of having a foreign object in their eye.