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Pterygium Excision


  • Date January 28, 2021


Management of a Pterygium.

A pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm) is an elevated, wedged-shaped bump on the eyeball that starts on the white of the eye (sclera) and can invade the cornea.


Parts of a Pterygium:

A pterygium consists of three distinct parts: the cap, the head and the body/tail.

The cap or leading edge is a flat zone on the cornea that consists mainly of fibroblasts that invade and destroy Bowman’s membrane.

The head is a vascular area that lies behind the cap and is firmly attached to the cornea.

The body/tail is the mobile area of the bulbar conjunctiva, which can be easily dissected from the underlying tissue.1


Symptoms of Pterygium

Sometimes a pterygium causes no symptoms apart from its look. An enlarging pterygium, however, could cause redness and inflammation.

A pterygium will grow more and more onto the tissue layer (the clear, outer layer of the eye). This could distort the form of the tissue layer, inflicting a condition referred to as astigmatism. The result can often blurred vision.

Symptoms of a pterygium could include:

  • Burning
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itching
  • Sensation of a distant body within the eye
  • Blurred vision



Treatment is not needed in most cases. Using artificial tears to keep the eyes wet may also assist prevent a pterygium from becoming inflamed. Moderate steroid eye drops can be used to calm inflammation if it takes place. Surgery can be used to remove the growth for cosmetic reasons or if it blocks vision.


The material on this page was provided by the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology