Pterygium is a form of sun-related growth of flesh over the clear cornea. This happens over time and can cause poor vision, irritation, inflammation, and poor cosmesis. The disorder is generally considered benign but approximately 2-5% can be associated with pre-cancerious or cancerous growth.
Treatment : Mild pterygium can be managed with lubricating drops, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and occasionally topical anti-inflammatory drops such as steroids.
Surgery: Surgery option should be considered when the pterygium is causing significant astigmatism, poor vision, inflammation, or showing signs of suspicious malignancy (cancerous) changes.
A surgical video of this procedure is available from oDocs Eye Care's Youtube Channel.
What is the cost of the surgery?
Pterygium excision with autoconjunctival graft is a local anaesthetic procedure, the cost ranges between NZD 4500 - 6000 depending on the complexity and the size of the lesion.
What is the recovery time?
It takes 3 - 5 days for the discomfort around the eye to resolve, and a further 2 - 3 weeks for the wound to heal. Cosmetically, it may take up to 6 weeks to return to a near normal appearance. You are advised not to drive for up to a week post-surgery.
Why is fibrin-glue better than sutures?
The use of fibrin glue for the graft reduces the surgical time, and improves the comfort level post-surgery. Dissolvable sutures can cause unnecessary pain and inflammation.
What are the risks associated with this surgery?
The surgery is very safe. The risk of sight-threatening complication is less than 1 in 1000. They include infection, ocular perforation (cornea), and scleral melt. There is also a 5% chance that a pterygium may grow back.