What is Pterygium?

A Pterygium is a fleshy tissue that grows on the cornea and conjunctiva. If left untreated, it will eventually cover the pupil and interfere with normal vision. Common patient complaints about Pterygium include burning, itching, discomfort, redness, blurred vision, a gritty feeling and a sensation of having a foreign material in the eye. Pterygium may appear in one or both eyes.

Causes of Pterygium

While there is still relative uncertainty regarding the causes of Pterygium, dry eye, exposure to sunlight and wind have all been considered principle contributors to the condition. Often time, Pterygium develops in spite of the patients best attempts to avoid UV rays. Heredity may also play a role in Pterygium, but there is less known about this possible contributing factor at present. 


In the past, there has been reluctance on the part of eye care professionals to seek a surgical solution for Pterygium; this was due in part to the relatively high incidence of recurrence. Today, however, there have been major advances in the care and treatment of Pterygium. Surgical techniques have greatly improved and more effective post operative medications have significantly reduced the possibility of recurrence. 

Why Dr. Reinglass and Lakeshore Eye Physicians?

The surgical technique used by Dr. Reinglass is painless and is performed on an outpatient basis, and results in a less than 2% incidence of the regrowth. Dr. Reinglass believes that for the best post surgical results, treatment should begin immediately after the the white portion of the eye and the cornea meet; see the Illustration below.

Pterygium Patient, Procedure

Once Dr. Reinglass successfully removes the Pterygium, patients are required to take a variety of prescribed topical medications for a 6-8 week period of time.

Follow-Up Care

After the completion of surgery you can expect to see Dr. Reinglass based on the following schedule:

  • 1 week after surgery
  • 3 to 4 weeks after surgery
  • 2 to 3 months after surgery

Throughout your scheduled follow-up appointments, Dr. Reinglass will have you take medication to prevent the disease from recurring after the procedure. Most patients discontinue use of medication after 3 months.

Effects After Surgery

Patients may experience mild to moderate discomfort for the first week after surgery; but it is only in very rare cases that any serious complications occur. With early detection and medical intervention, patients will experience good visual and cosmetic results. 

For more information on pterygium (carnosidad) procedures and treatment, please call us at 773-761-8200 for both English and Spanish. Saturday morning appointments are available.

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