Not all pterygium require treatment or surgery, but if the scar-like tissue is causing loss of vision, discomfort, or is not responding to eye drops, you may be a candidate for pterygium surgery in Houston.
What is pterygium?
Pterygium, commonly known as “surfer’s eye”, are non-cancerous growths that begin on the white of your eye (or conjunctiva). They then spread across your cornea and eventually into your pupil, ultimately causing loss of vision and requiring removal by surgery. The exact cause of pterygium is not known, but its growth is believed to be influenced by UV damage to the eyes and other environmental factors such as dust, sand, and wind.
Continue reading: Can the Sun Hurt Your Eyes?
What is Pterygium Surgery?
Pterygium surgery is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that generally only takes about 30-45 minutes per eye. If you have pterygium on both eyes, your procedures will be staggered by a few weeks to allow time for each eye to heal independently.
During the procedure, the pterygium is removed and replaced with a graft of conjunctival tissue from the white of the eye under your eyelid to ensure that the pterygium does not grow back in the exposed healing area. Local and general anesthetics are both employed for your comfort during the procedure, and an oral sedative is available should you feel particularly nervous. After the procedure, your ophthalmologist may apply a surgical eye patch to ensure an immediate start to the healing. You should arrange a ride home and plan to be there until the doctor says otherwise.
Recovery From Pterygium Surgery
What is the recovery time for pterygium surgery? While the techniques used vary majorly from those applied in LASIK eye surgery and laser cataract surgery, the recovery processes for most of these procedures are similar. As soon as the day after your surgery you will have a postoperative visit with your ophthalmologist to remove the surgical patch. You can expect some mild irritation, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision for the first couple of weeks, and eye redness that can last up to a couple of months.
As with LASIK recovery, if you plan for your recovery and keep in contact with your doctor you will have a much easier time. You will be given steroid eye drops and medication to mitigate pain if necessary. Use your eye drops and avoid rubbing your eyes. You can return to most of your normal activities such as driving and working within the first few days. However, full recovery can take a couple of months.
Risks and Prevention
Infections and complications during healing are rare. The biggest risk in pterygium surgery, either during the surgery or the recovery period, is the potential regrowth of the pterygium itself. Although the use of the autograft on the conjunctiva greatly reduces the chances of pterygia regrowth, there is still a small chance that the tissue will regrow.
To protect your eyes against the regrowth of pterygium you should:
- Wear sunglasses when outside to protect your eyes from UV damage.
- Use artificial tears to combat dry eyes.
- Wear protective goggles in particularly windy and dusty environments.
Prevention is important, yes. But the best way to protect yourself against the inherent potential risk of any surgery is to hire the best people. At Eye Center of Texas, Texas’ leaders in eye care, we have experts with proven track records in performing pterygium surgery safely and successfully. Your path to recovery could start now, with an Ophthalmologist in Houston that you can trust.
Common Questions About Pterygium Surgery
Can pterygium be removed without surgery?
Pterygium cannot be removed without surgery. However, not all cases require surgery. Pterygium often presents no symptoms if they have yet to interfere with the cornea or pupil. Once the conjunctival tissue covers your cornea and begins negatively impacting your vision, surgery is usually required.
What is the difference between pterygium and pinguecula?
Pinguecula, much like pterygium, is yellowish bumps or patches on the white of the eye that can cause irritation and redness. Pinguecula, however, does not grow across the cornea and is usually not harmful to your vision.
How much does pterygium surgery cost?
Pterygium surgery is generally covered by Medicare or insurance unless the procedure is being done for cosmetic purposes (i.e. if the growth is smaller and doesn’t require surgery.) Though cost should never be a determining factor when it comes to the health of your eyes and vision. We can help find a solution that works for your financial needs.
Eye Center of Texas offers pterygium surgery in Houston
The surgeons at Eye Center of Texas are world-class and we work hard to stay on top of technological and surgical technique advancements. This allows us to personalize a procedure that will be the right fit for your unique needs.
Think you may be a candidate for pterygium surgery in Houston? Schedule an appointment to make cloudy vision a thing of the past.
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