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What is Pterygium, or “Surfer’s Eye”?


Pterygium, also referred to as “surfer’s eye” is a common eye condition caused by UV ray damage from exposure to the sun. This pink fleshy growth on the eye that results from this condition may look scary, but it is treatable when you come to the experts at Marano Eye Care. Take a look at the symptoms of Pterygium to determine if it is time to make an appointment:

Symptoms of Pterygium

Symptoms of Pterygium may start mild and slowly become more of a pain and nuisance. All eye problems should be addressed with an ophthalmologist, especially when there is a growth or vision changes.

  • Slow growth of triangular shaped lesion on eyeball
  • Lesion is pink and fleshy
  • Feeling of foreign body in eye
  • Vision changes
  • Itchiness
  • Dry Eye Disease

Who is at Risk?

Because the sun is usually to blame for Pterygium, people who spend prolonged amounts of time outside are at a higher risk. Men have a higher risk than women, and those with fairer skin are also at a higher risk of developing this condition. Dry Eye Disease and exposure to irritants may also play a role in developing Pterygium. People can lessen their risk for developing Pterygium by protecting their eyes with UVA/UVB blocking sunglasses when outdoors and reducing prolonged exposure to UV rays.

Treatment for Pterygium at Marano Eye Care

If you believe you may have Pterygium, the ophthalmologists at Marano Eye Care will be able to diagnose and treat the condition. Treatment will depend on the severity, but may involve:

  • Prescription Eye Drops: In minor cases of Pterygium, your ophthalmologist may recommend lubricating eye drops and a course of steroid eye drops. He or she will also recommend you wear UV protecting sunglasses to allow healing.
  • Pterygium Surgery: In more severe cases and when conservative approaches are unsuccessful, surgery will be required. Marano Eye Care has extensive experience performing this procedure and relieves patients from their discomfort caused by Pterygium. During the Pterygium Surgery, the Pterygium is removed and the patient’s own surface eye tissue or preserved amniotic membrane is stitched or glued to the eye to fill in the area.

Recovery from Pterygium

If surgery was needed, the patient can expect to make a recovery within a few days to one week. An eye patch will need to be worn for the first few days to aid in the healing process. When recovering, the biggest concern in recurrence of the Pterygium. If a graft is utilized during removal, recurrence only has about a 5-10% chance of occurring. When no graft is utilized, the recurrence rate is higher, around 50%. Pterygium recurrence is usually within 12 months of removal. Your ophthalmologist will be able to detect recurrence early at regular check ups following Pterygium.

Get the Best Eye Care in NJ Today

If you are experiencing eye discomfort or eye pain in New Jersey, it is important to see a skilled professional. At Marano Eye Care, we have extensive experience dealing with Pterygium and a wide range of eye conditions and problems. Contact us today to schedule a check up so that you can rest assured you will see 20/20 for a long time.

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