Pterygium Surgery Can Remove Growths that Begin to Affect Vision
In addition to causing irritation, pterygium are growths on the eye that can eventually impair your vision if left untreated. While most cases are mild and are treated with steroidal eye drops, some patients require pterygium surgery to remove the growth, restore vision, and eliminate irritation. Drs. Richard Gordon and Sonia Belliappa can remove growths covering the eye during pterygium surgery at their Monroe and Pomona, NY, ophthalmological offices. If you are suffering from irritation and the feeling that you have something in your eye, an examination by Drs. Gordon or Belliappa can determine if the irritation is caused by a pterygium and recommend appropriate treatment.
What Is a Pterygium?
A pterygium is an off-white growth on the eye that is sometimes referred to as surfer’s eye, but can affect almost anyone. The most common cause of a pterygium is lack of protection from sunlight, especially in activities that take place on water where ultraviolet (UV) rays are reflected into the eyes. Wind and dust particles can also cause pterygia, most commonly in patients between their 30s and 50s. Pterygia typically form on the sclera, or the white of the eye, near the inside corner. These growths typically do not cause any major issues and are often only removed for cosmetic reasons. However, if left completely untreated, a pterygium can increase in size, extending over the cornea and impacting your vision.
Common Treatment Options
Before the growth is significantly visible, the most common symptom is the feeling that something is in your eye, which may feel gritty. It may cause itching or burning, and the irritation eventually causes redness in the eyes. Treatment recommendations will vary based on the size of your pterygium. Smaller pterygia are often easily treated with lubricating eye drops, sometimes combined with steroidal eye drops to reduce redness and inflammation. In some cases, Dr. Gordon or Dr. Belliappa may prescribe specialized contact lenses, which help prevent dryness and protect your eyes from UV rays. Surgery is most often recommended when other treatment methods are unsuccessful in reducing or eliminating the growth.
Pterygium surgery is a relatively quick outpatient corneal procedure, that can last less than 30 minutes. Our team will provide a mild sedative to help patients relax, before numbing the eye, so that you cannot feel anything during the procedure. Dr. Gordon or Dr. Belliappa can then carefully remove the pterygium from your eye, ensuring not to disturb surrounding tissues. In some cases, they will cover the area with a tissue graft, typically taken from under the eyelid to help the eye heal and avoid regrowth.
Drs. Gordon and Belliappa can provide detailed postoperative instructions and medication to help ensure the most comfortable recovery possible.
Due to the sedatives, you will need another adult to drive you home following your surgery. You can take over-the-counter pain medications for any discomfort you feel, and we will give you an eye patch to wear for a couple days. Patients can typically return to work in two to three days, but may experience some discomfort, redness, and swelling for a couple of weeks after surgery. Drs. Gordon and Belliappa can provide detailed postoperative instructions and medication to help ensure the most comfortable recovery possible.
Protect Your Eyes
We are dedicating to helping our patients achieve and maintain the best possible ocular health. If you are experiencing any eye irritation that is not relieved with over-the-counter eye drops, contact our ophthalmological office online or call us at (845) 362-1450 today to schedule an appointment.