What is Pterygium in the eye?
A Pterygium is a growth of the conjunctiva or mucous membrane that covers the white part of your eye over the cornea. The cornea is the clear front covering of the eye.
In medical terms you can say a pterygium (plural pterygia) is a triangular fibrovascular subepithelial ingrowth of degenerative bulbar conjunctival tissue over the limbus onto the cornea and replaces Bowman’s membrane and corneal epithelium. It typically develops in patients who have been living in hot climates
Loss of vision occurs if it extends across the visual axis. Pterygium is a common disease in tropical countries.
Can Pterygium grow in one eye?
Pterygium typically develop in the inner corner of the eye, next to the nose. They may grow in one or both eyes.
What causes pterygium?
The exact cause of pterygium isn’t known. One explanation is that too much exposure to
ultraviolet (UV) light can lead to these growths. It occurs more often in people who live in warm
climates and spend a lot of time outdoors in sunny or windy environments. People whose eyes
are exposed to certain elements on a regular basis have a higher risk of developing this
condition. These elements include:
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Symptoms of Pterygium
SYMPTOMS OF A PTERYGIUM
- Eye redness and inflammation
- Blurred vision caused by a corneal distortion
- A burning sensation, a gritty feeling or itchiness
- Eye irritation
- Thickening in the corner of your eye
- Feeling like theres a foreign object in your eye
- Severe vision problems, as the growth encroaches across your pupil
What happens if pterygium grows?
If pterygium grows, your vision may be blocked or blurred. You may even need surgery if your vision is affected.
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How is Pterygium diagnosed?
Diagnosing a pterygium is straightforward. Your eye doctor may diagnose this condition based
on a physical examination using a slit lamp. This lamp allows your doctor to see your eye with
the help of magnification and bright lighting. If your doctor needs to do additional tests, they
• Visual acuity test. This test involves reading letters on an eye chart.
• Corneal topography. This medical mapping technique is used to measure curvature
changes in your cornea.
• Photo documentation. This procedure involves taking pictures to track the growth rate of
How can I prevent getting a pterygium?
If possible, avoid exposure to environmental factors that can cause a pterygium. You can help
prevent the development of a pterygium by wearing sunglasses or a hat to shield your eyes
from sunlight, wind, and dust. Your sunglasses should also provide protection from the sun’s
ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you already have a pterygium, limiting your exposure to the following
can slow its growth:
Avoiding these conditions can also help prevent pterygiums from coming back if you’ve had
Parts of Pterygium
Pterygium that is located at the nasal limbus is called nasal pterygium while pterygium located
at the temporal limbus is called the temporal pterygium
The pterygium is composed of several segments:
- Fuchs’ Patches (minute gray blemishes that disperse near the pterygium head)
- Stocker’s Line (a brownish line composed of iron deposits)
- Hood (fibrous nonvascular portion of the pterygium)
- Head (apex of the pterygium, typically raised and highly vascular)
- Body (fleshy elevated portion congested with tortuous vessels)
- Superior Edge (upper edge of the triangular or wing-shaped portion of the pterygium)
- Inferior Edge (lower edge of the triangular or wing-shaped portion of the pterygium).
Stocker’s Line: Pterygium in the eye
A vertical line at the head of pterygium has been termed Stocker’s line.
The lesion consisted of corneal linear iron deposition.
Several iron lines of the superficial cornea are generally recognized in ophthalmology: Fleischer’s ring in keratoconus, Hudson‐Stähli’s line in corneal scar, Ferry’s line in filtering bleb, and Stocker’s line in Pterygium.
The mechanism of iron deposition in the development of pterygium is still unknown, but iron level was reported significantly higher in the pterygium tissue than in the normal conjunctiva.
• Pseudo-Pterygium defines a conjunctival fold that may adhere to any quadrant of the conjunctiva to the peripheral cornea. It is often stationary.
• Pseudo-pterygium may result from a peripheral corneal ulcer and ocular surface inflammation such as cicatrizing conjunctivitis, chemical burns, or chronic mechanical irritation from contact lens movement with an inadequate ocular surface lubrication.
• Pterygium is defined as a raised triangular growth on the corneal limbus, with an apex or head located on the cornea and a degenerative condition of unknown etiology. Pterygium growths tend to be oriented laterally in the interpalpebral fissure on either the nasal or temporal side of the cornea and adhering to the corneal epithelium.
• In pterygium, a hook or probe cannot pass under the neck of pterygium tissue and it can be elevated with forceps, whereas this procedure can be performed in pseudo-pterygium.