Pterygium is the result of the proliferation or enlargement of conjunctival cells that pass through the cornea. It is more common on the inside of the eye and can affect one or both eyes. It does not cause symptoms in the initial stage, but as it grows, it starts to sting, burn and itch (feel like a foreign body), especially after prolonged exposure to the sun without goggles. It usually develops around the age of 30, people with a light complexion and eyes are at higher risk. This condition occurs in people who are exposed to the sun for a long time, such as farmers, fishermen, surfers, sailors, etc. Skiers and all those who are more often exposed to snow and sun are also at high risk here. In addition to ultraviolet radiation, wind and dust also have an effect, and it is very common in patients with dry eye.
Pterygium develops slowly and therefore the patient’s condition is monitored and their treatment is determined. However, as the pterygium spreads to the cornea, it begins to cause blurred vision, blurring, and abnormal image distortion or irregular astigmatism. Treatment depends on its shape and size. When it is smaller, we give artificial tears and lubricants, and sometimes mild steroid drops to reduce redness and burning. In severe cases, pterygium is treated surgically. Given that recurrence is possible (recurrence after surgery), we use intraoperative drugs that will prevent recurrence.
To avoid pterygium, it is necessary to wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection. A wide-brimmed hat or cap can also help protect you from the wind and dust.