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Pterygium Specialist

Maryland Eye Care Center -  - Ophthalmologist

Maryland Eye Care Center

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Silver Spring, MD & Hyattsville, MD

A pterygium is a fleshy growth that radiates out from the inside corner of your eye. Pterygia are fairly common today, and they can be intrusive if they spread onto the cornea. At Maryland Eye Care Center in Silver Spring, Downtown Silver Spring, and Hyattsville, Maryland, the team of ocular specialists offers comprehensive care for your pterygium, from diagnosis to removal. Call the office nearest you or set up a visit with online scheduling.

Pterygium Q & A

What is a pterygium?

A pterygium is a fleshy growth on your conjunctiva, the transparent layer covering your sclera (eye whites). Pterygia are usually light pink because they include tiny blood vessels. 

Sometimes, a pterygium begins as a pinguecula, a small yellow growth made of fat, calcium, or protein. A pterygium can range from tiny and almost imperceptible to a quite prominent triangle-shaped tissue that grows onto your cornea to partially obscure your iris.

What causes a pterygium?

In most cases, a few factors combine to cause a pterygium. They include sun exposure (ultraviolet light), wind, and dust. 

"Surfer's eye" is another term for pterygium because surfers spend so much time in those conditions and often develop this problem. 

What are the symptoms of a pterygium?

Pterygia don't always cause obvious symptoms beyond their physical appearance. But if your pterygium grows it can cause symptoms including: 

  • Red eye
  • Dry eye
  • Eye burning
  • Eye grittiness

Larger pterygia are more likely to cause serious symptoms. A growing pterygium can potentially distort your cornea, for example, which may lead to astigmatism and blurry vision.

What is the best treatment for a pterygium?

The Maryland Eye Care Center team advises you of the best treatment plan based on your pterygium symptoms and how it's affecting your eye. Prescription eye drops, which include powerful lubricants or steroids, can minimize symptoms but won't shrink the fleshy growth. 

If you have a large pterygium that’s causing serious issues, or if you want one removed for cosmetic reasons, eye surgery is usually the best solution. An experienced ophthalmic surgeon can remove the growth and, if needed, graft healthy tissue in its place to prevent regrowth. 

Overall, the best treatment is prevention. The Maryland Eye Care Center team recommends wearing glasses and contact lenses with ultraviolet (UV) protection when you're outdoors, and also avoiding prolonged time in dry, dusty, and windy environments. 

If you have chronic dry eye, you may have a higher chance of developing a pterygium. It's important to recognize dry eye as a serious ocular problem and get the care you need sooner than later.

At Maryland Eye Care Center, the specialty eye care team covers all your needs in one place. Call the office nearest you or book your appointment online today.