Our doctors can typically diagnose pterygium with a simple examination of the eyes and eyelids, using a slit lamp. This device will allow your practitioner to examine the eye closely in small sections, making it easier to detect abnormalities on the surface of the eye. Your doctor may also take pictures each time you return for an exam, to document the growth of the lesion.
Pterygium generally does not require any treatment, unless it causes discomfort or if the lesion grows large enough to interfere with vision. Your doctor may prescribe a contact lens to cover the growth in order to protect it from dryness and further exposure to UV rays. If pterygium causes the eye to become red and irritated, your doctor may also prescribe eye drops or ointment with steroids to reduce inflammation. If the drops fail to relieve irritation, or pterygium leads to astigmatism or loss of vision, your doctor may recommend an outpatient surgical procedure.
Surgery to remove a lesion generally takes about 30 to 45 minutes. After surgery, your doctor will instruct you to wear a protective patch over the affected eye for a day or two. Most patients can return to work and other normal activities the following day.