Definition of Pterygium

Growth arising from the conjunctival tissue around the perimeter of the eye, usually on the side near the nose. A pterygium characteristically grows in a triangular shape, and has its own blood supply to support its growth. Growth generally is slow. Often a pterygium remains innocuous, though some people experience irritation and a sensation of grittiness in the affected eye.

Occasionally the growth encroaches on the cornea, applying pressure or growing into the corneal region. When this occurs, surgery to remove the pterygium is necessary to preserve vision. Pterygia tend to recur following surgery, though it may take a number of years to reach a size that interferes with vision.


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