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by Duffek C


The main goals of treating a pterygium are to:
  • Prevent progression, inflammation, and infection
  • Aid in the healing process, if surgery is performed
Treatment options include:
  • Periodic eye examination, usually when the pterygium causes no or minimal symptoms
  • If symptoms increase, additional treatments may include:
    • Medications
      • prescription topical antibiotics to prevent infection
      • topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
      • ocular lubricants, such as artificial tears
    • Radiation therapy to stop pterygium cells from reforming


If vision becomes severely blurred, the pterygium may need to be surgically removed. This is commonly done on an outpatient basis. On occasion, a pterygium can return. Steps may be taken during the operation to prevent this from happening.
In rare cases, a pterygium causes serious scarring of the cornea. If this happens, a corneal transplant may be needed. Once the pterygium has been surgically removed, the medicine Mitomycin C may be used to aid in healing and prevent recurrence.


American Academy of Ophthalmology

Eye Care America



Canadian Ophthalmological Society

Health Canada



Coday M. Pterygium. Digital Journal of Ophthalmology website. Available at: . Accessed July 21, 2009.

Jurgenliemk-Schulz IM, Hartman LJ, Roesink JM, et al. Prevention of pterygium recurrence by postoperative single-dose beta-irradiation: a prostpective randomized clinical double-blind trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys .2004; 59:1138-1147.

Kellogg Eye Institute. Pterygium. Kellogg Eye Institute, University of Michigan website. Available at: . Accessed August 12, 2005.

Sowka JW, Gurwood AS, Kabat AG. Handbook of Ocular Dsease Management. New York, NY: Jobson Publishing Co; 2001.

Washington University Physicians. Pterygium. Washington University Physicians website. Available at: . Accessed November 11, 2010.


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