Living in a place like Houston, you may be worried about an eye condition like pterygium. If you spend a lot of time outside, you may be at an increased risk of developing this growth on the conjunctiva of the eye.
What is Pterygium?
A pterygium (or carnisodad) is a small, pink fleshy growth of the conjunctiva that looks like a triangle that may grow over your eye. Pterygium is not usually painful but may irritate your eye and eventually obstruct your vision.
What are the Main Causes of Pterygium?
A pterygium happens when the conjunctiva starts to grow and thicken. You may develop pterygium if you spend a lot of time in sunny, dusty places like Houston.
Exposure to sunlight and irritation from wind and dust even at work may increase your risk of developing carnisodad. Your risk of developing pterygium may increase if you spend time outdoors without sufficient protection, like sunglasses or wearing a wide-brimmed hat that covers your eyes and keeps them safe from the sun’s rays. As a pterygium grows, it will affect your vision and ability to see clearly.
How Do You Treat Pterygium?
If you have pterygium, you may be able to treat it with eye drops or ointments to help relieve discomfort. However, if the carnisodad affects your vision or is frequently red and irritated, you’ll need surgery to remove it.
Many people often choose to remove pterygium for cosmetic reasons, even if it is not affecting their ability to see or their vision. A pterygium is unsightly and is quite easy to notice on the white of the eye where it develops.
What Happens if Pterygium is Left Untreated?
If you choose not to treat your pterygium, it can slowly continue growing. It will cover the cornea as it grows, which could impede your vision, making it blurry and harder to see.
You may develop astigmatism because of this. You may also notice that your eye is red and more irritated, and you may experience a foreign body sensation like something is in your eye, even if there’s nothing in it.
Does Pterygium Go Away on its Own?
No, a pterygium will not go away on its own, making treatment necessary. Leaving a carnisodad untreated will simply allow it to continue growing and developing.
If you believe you have pterygium, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Mattioli at Mattioli Vision Professionals/IQ Laser Vision in Houston, TX.
When Should I See a Doctor for Pterygium?
If you think you have pterygium, seeing an eye doctor is a good idea. But if you notice any changes to your vision or a strange growth on your eye, that may be a sign of a pterygium. You should see an eye doctor if your pterygium causes:
- Redness or irritation
- Your vision is blurry or distorted
- The growth keeps getting bigger, leading to discomfort
- You feel self-conscious about having a growth on your eye
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should make it a priority to see an eye doctor.
How is Pterygium Removed from the Eye?
If you have a pterygium that needs to be removed from your eye, you’ll undergo a quick in-office procedure performed at Mattioli Vision Professionals/ IQ Laser Vision by Dr. Mattioli. Eye drops and local anesthetic is used to ensure you won’t feel any pain.
You’ll have the carnisodad removed, as well as any extra tissue. Removing the pterygium helps to clear up the cornea and alleviates any obstructions from your vision that may make it more difficult to see. Dr. Mattioli will use a small piece of healthy tissue from the conjunctiva or membrane to cover the area where the pterygium was removed.
Covering this area helps reduce the chances of pterygium recurring after the excision procedure. The tissue removal is done using a no-stitches auto-graft self-transplant technique, which is painless.
After successfully removing the pterygium from your eye, you’ll have a patch applied to your eye. You will need to wear the patch overnight.
To ensure optimal healing, you’ll need to apply antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops and ointment to the site of the pterygium excision. Most patients find that it takes about two to three weeks before their eye starts looking normal again.
What is the Success Rate of Pterygium Removal?
Pterygium removal is usually successful. However, pterygium may recur less than 10%) of the time, making it extremely important to follow proper sun hygiene, like wearing sunglasses while outdoors that protect from UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
What is the Recovery Process Like After Pterygium Removal?
After a pterygium removal procedure, you’ll need to use proper eye drops and ointments. You may experience minor discomfort after the carnisodad excision, but this should improve as you recover several days after the procedure.
Most patients can resume their usual activities in their routine 48 hours after removing pterygium. If you’ve already had pterygium and had it removed, you’re considered at higher risk for developing them again.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat outdoors, use sunglasses with sufficient UV protection, and do your best to avoid being outdoors for significant periods of time during peak hours between 10 am and 4 pm. Even if you’ve had pterygium excision surgery, you still risk developing another pterygium later.
Learn more about pterygium by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Mattioli today at Mattioli Vision Professionals IQ Laser Vision in Houston, TX!
This content has been reviewed and approved
Dr. Mattioli had LASIK himself over 22 years ago and has been practicing in Houston since 2001, caring for and treating local and international patients. He has personally treated several Wounded Warriors.
Dr. Mattioli is board-certified by the American Board of Physician Specialties in Ophthalmology. He has performed hundreds of cataract/implant procedures, and 65,000+ laser SMILE, LASIK, and PRK. Additionally, he performs specialized procedures including EVO ICL for myopia and astigmatism, as well as Intacs and crosslinking for keratoconus.