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A pterygium is a benign growth that forms on the top layer of the eye. The top layer, known as the conjuncitiva, is attached to the cornea causing this growth to potentially interfere with vision. Pterygium is common among people living in warmer climates near the equator where the UV rays from the sun are strong. The exact cause is unknown, however it is commonly associated with long-term exposure to sun light and irritation from dusty or dry environments, most likely due to sand particles and lack of moisture in the air.


Due to environmental irritants, pterygium symptoms involve dry eye, redness, inflammation, irritation, tearing, and burning sensations.

Treatments and Removal

For many individuals, pterygium can be treated with eye drops or ointments to soothe the inflammation and irritation of the symptoms. Treatments work to reduce symptoms, not to reduce or prevent further growth of the pterygium. Definitive treatment is achieved only through surgical removal which may be necessary in cases where the growth has advanced in covering the pupil. In this case, our doctors at Arlington Eye Center will help you decide the best course of treatment for your pterygium growth.

Although surgery removes the pterygium, it can grow back and in some cases be larger than its previous size. It is important to have a long-term follow up with your surgeon post-surgery so that they can closely monitor the healing process and any signs of a potential regrowth.