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Pterygium or Surfers Eye


What is Pterygium?

Pterygium is also known as Surfer’s eye. It is an extra growth that develops on the conjunctiva or the mucous membrane that covers the sclera (white part of the eye). It usually grows from the nasal side of the conjunctiva.

Symptoms of Pterygium

There are several symptoms of pterygium eye. Some of the many are mentioned below:

  • Foreign body sensation

  • Tearing from eyes

  • Dryness of eyes

  • Redness

  • Blurred vision

  • Eye irritation

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Causes of Pterygium Eye

Below we have mentioned some of the many pterygium causes:

  • Dryness in the eyes is one of the biggest causes of Pterygium.

  • Pterygium causes include exposure to ultraviolet rays for a long time.

  • It may be caused due to the dust.

Tests for Diagnosing Pterygium

  • Slit lamp examination

  • A visual Activity test- It involves reading letters on an eye chart.

  • Corneal Topography –it is used to measure the curvature changes in your cornea.

  • Photo Documentation- It involves taking pictures to track the growth rate of Pterygium.


Complications of Pterygium

The most common complication of Pterygium is recurrence.

In pterygium treatment, the post-operative complication of Pterygium surgery include:

  • Chances of infection

  • Corneal Scarring

  • Reaction to suture material

  • Retinal Detachment (Rarely)

  • Conjunctival graft dehiscence

  • Diplopia


Treatment for Pterygium Eye


If the Pterygium is leading to symptoms like irritation or redness, the doctor will prescribe eye ointment to reduce the inflammation.


If the Pterygium symptoms are worsening and the ointment is not offering any relief. Your eye doctor will recommend surgery to remove the pterygium.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens during a pterygium surgery?

When it comes to medical treatments and surgeries, it is best to get in touch with a prestigious eye hospital to avail services with best-in-class technology and infrastructure. The process of pterygium surgery is low-risk and fairly quick; therefore, there is nothing to worry about. Below we have mentioned the steps taken during the surgery:

  • First, the surgeon sedates the patient to numb the eye that needs to be operated so that no amount of discomfort is caused during the surgery. In addition, they will also clean and wipe the surrounding area to reduce the risk of infections.
  • In the next step, the surgeon will carefully remove the conjunctiva tissue along with the pterygium.
  • Once the pterygium is successfully removed, the surgeon with replace it with a graft of membrane tissue in order to prevent pterygium growth in the future.

Another way of treating pterygium is by the bare sclera technique. In simple terms, it is a traditional procedure where the surgeon removes the pterygium tissue and does not replace it with a new tissue graft.

In comparison with pterygium surgery, the only point of difference is that the bare sclera technique leaves the white of the eye exposed to heal and recover on its own. However, on the other hand, this technique eliminates the risk of fibrin glue but increases the risk of pterygium regrowth.

In the medical sector, there are risks in every surgical procedure. In a pterygium surgery, it is normal to experience some redness and discomfort with some blurriness during the recovery period. However, if the patient begins to develop difficulties in vision, pterygium regrowth, or total vision loss, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist at the earliest.

After the pterygium is successfully removed, the concerned surgeon will either use fibrin or sutures to optimally secure the conjunctiva tissue graft in its proper place. Both these techniques and options are used to reduce the possibility of pterygium regrowth. Now, let’s address the point of differences between both.

In surgical processes, using dissolvable sutures is often considered a benchmark practice. However, there is a high chance that it can cause more discomfort in the post-surgery or recovery time, with stretches the healing process for several days.

Alternatively, in the case of fibrin, glues drastically reduce discomfort and inflammation while reducing the recovery time by less than half in comparison with sutures. But it is imperative to keep in mind that since this glue is a blood-derived medical product, it carries the risk of transmitting diseases and viral infection. In addition, using fibrin glue can prove to be a more expensive option.

By the end of the surgical process, the surgeon will apply an eye pad or patch to prevent the breakout of any infection while ensuring that the patient gets optimum comfort in the recovery period. The patient will be advised to not touch or rub their eyes after the surgery to avoid the dislocation of the newly attached tissue.

Secondly, the patient will be given a list of aftercare instructions like antibiotics, cleaning procedures and scheduling regular follow up visits. After pterygium surgery, the normal bracket of the recovery time is between a couple of weeks to one or two months.

Within this period, the operated eye gets enough time to heal without any signs of discomfort and redness. However, this heavily depends on the type of technique or treatment that is used during the pterygium surgery.


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