Pterygium In San Diego, CA
A pterygium is a growth of the conjunctiva that can cause dry eyes, irritation, and general inflammation. The board-certified ophthalmologists at American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates are dedicated to ensuring you can see clearly and live comfortably with the most up-to-date diagnostic services and treatments. We are proud to offer treatment for the pterygium to men and women in San Diego, Chula Vista, and the neighboring communities of Imperial County, California.
What is a Pterygium?
A pterygium is a non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva or the lining that covers the white part of the eye. A pterygium may also grow on the cornea, which covers the iris or the colored part of the eye. The growth usually begins on the inside corner of the eye closest to the nose and is characteristically red, pink, white, yellow, or gray in color. While many patients begin to notice the pterygium because of its appearance, some also develop dry eyes, itching, tearing, or redness as a result. A pterygium may not always require treatment but can be removed in the event a patient believes it interferes with their appearance and/or their vision. Symptoms of a pterygium to look out for include:
- Extra tissue in the inner or outer corner of the eye
- Dry eyes
- Redness of the eye
- Irritation or itching
- Blurry vision
What Causes a Pterygium to Appear?
While scientists are still unsure why a pterygium appears, many believe developing a pterygium can be due to environmental elements. Studies have shown that overexposure to UV rays may heighten chances of developing a pterygium, and that patients who live in environments with a large amount of sand, smoke, wind, and pollen may be more at risk. This is because prolonged exposure to these conditions can cause the conjunctiva to thicken and the collagen in the eye to deteriorate.
How Is a Pterygium Diagnosed?
Diagnosing a pterygium is typically a quick and easy process. After a thorough medical examination of the eyes by one of our expert ophthalmologists, a slit-lamp examination will be performed. This special examination uses magnification and bright lighting to allow our skilled physician to closely examine the cornea, iris, lens, and conjunctive in question to confirm a pterygium is present. In addition, a vision test, corneal topography test, or photo documentation may be taken to further assess your current eye condition.
How Can I Treat a Pterygium?
While treating a pterygium isn’t always necessary, if a pterygium is causing you discomfort or it is affecting your vision, one of the following measures may be taken by one of our expert physicians on staff.
- Eye drops or artificial tears. Patients who wish to treat their discomfort caused by a pterygium but do not wish to undergo surgery to remove the pterygium may treat their dry eyes and eye irritation with prescription eye drops and artificial tears. This will relieve discomfort caused by the pterygium without removing it completely.
- Autologous conjunctival auto-grafting. This safe and effective technique surgically removes the pterygium as well as the extra tissue covering the conjunctiva. The tissue that is removed is replaced by donor tissue from the upper portion of the eyelid.
- Amniotic membrane transplantation. Amniotic membrane transplantation is another safe and effective procedure to remove a pterygium. Donor tissue from the inner layer of a human placenta is used to reconstruct the surface of the eye. This type of graft encourages healing and reduces swelling.
How Can I Prevent a Pterygium from Appearing?
Because a pterygium is believed to be a result of environmental factors, protecting your eyes with UV-protected sunglasses during the day or while venturing outside may help prevent the onset of this growth.
At American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates, we offer a wide range of cutting-edge treatments, expert surgical techniques, and the latest diagnostic services that will help you live your most healthy and comfortable life. We are happy to offer ophthalmology services to men and women in San Diego, Chula Vista, and the surrounding areas of Imperial County, California. Contact us to schedule your one-on-one consultation with one of our expert ophthalmologists today.