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What is Pterygium?

Pterygium is a common eye condition. It is the growth of abnormal tissue, which tends to extend from the corner of the eye near the center of the eye. In appearance, pterygium is typically pink and fleshy and is located on the white part of the eye. 

A pterygium can vary in appearance; they can be small and difficult to see, or large, red and noticeable. Because pterygium varies in appearance it may be yellow, gray, white, pink, red, or in some cases colorless.

Pterygium is not cancerous and typically develops slowly over time. In some cases progression of pterygium halts after a time. However, the pterygium can continue to grow and begin to cover the center of the eye. In this instance, it can lead to vision loss. 

Pterygium Symptoms

In some cases, patients with pterygium do not exhibit symptoms. However, this is rare. Aside from the visible growth, some symptoms may include:


Exposure to UV radiation is a major cause of Pterygium; it is very important to protect your eyes from exposure to the sun. Other risk factors for Pterygium are believed to be frequent exposure to dust and wind. 

When doing outdoor activities, it is advised to wear UV Coated sunglasses, wear hats, and take steps to avoid prolonged exposure to radiation, particularly if you live in tropical areas or are frequently in the sun. 

Pterygium Surgery

If a pterygium begins to impact daily activities and causes chronic discomfort, surgery is a common course of treatment. The surgery is minimally invasive, taking anywhere from 20-30 minutes to complete. 

Pterygium surgery involves the careful removal of the pterygium, and a skin graft used from beneath the upper eyelid. The skin graft might be placed over the removal spot and secured with tissue glue or sutures. 

Other treatment options can include artificial tears or, in some cases, topical steroids. At Stahl Eyecare Experts, Thierry Hufnagel, MD specializes in the evaluation, treatment, and removal of pterygium from the eye. 

For more information on pterygium surgery at Stahl Eyecare Experts, request an appointment today