If you have an eye condition that is affecting your quality of life, Dr. Patel at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS, is ready to offer extensive experience, knowledge, and compassion to help resolve the issue. One of the problems we can treat here includes pterygiums. Today we are going to cover some common questions surrounding pterygium treatment.
Will a Pterygium Go Away on Its Own?
Understanding Your Options
A pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye,” is very unlikely to resolve on its own. There are several pterygium treatment options, and finding the right one depends on the severity of your condition, and your unique needs and goals.
If you have a small pterygium, you may be able to manage it with ointments and topical medicines that can reduce redness and swelling. This can decrease the appearance and size of the pterygium and make you more comfortable. Surgery may be the right option if your pterygium is consistently becoming inflamed or infected, or if it’s interfering with your comfort or vision.
What We Can Do
After you receive an eye assessment, Dr. Patel can offer insight into the right type of treatment for you. If you choose to move forward with surgery, this can be done on an outpatient basis. Dr. Patel can employ cutting-edge technology to help reduce the chance of your pterygium coming back.
If you have any questions about the process, feel free to ask them during your consultation. Once we get a good look at your condition, that will help Dr. Patel give you personalized advice and talk you through your options.
What Are the Benefits of Pterygium Treatment?
The eyes are often called the window to the soul. Making eye contact is a common way for people to connect with each other in personal and professional settings. Having something that affects the appearance of the eye can also affect a patient’s self-confidence. If you find yourself avoiding eye contact due to your pterygium, or just want to feel better about the appearance of your eyes, that’s a perfectly valid reason to seek out treatment.
We want our patients to have healthy, functional eyes, but we also want them to feel their very best. This treatment can help improve the lives of patients who are trying to hide their condition or are upset about their eye’s appearance.
Even if you can still see with your surfer’s eye, you may be experiencing irritation and discomfort. That doesn’t have to become your new normal. We have various ways we can improve your comfort levels, which can help you not be constantly distracted by an itching, sore, or uncomfortable eye.
If left untreated, this condition can lead to astigmatism, which can cause blurred or distorted vision. This is due to the fact that a surfer’s eye can alter how much of your lens or cornea is able to function, which puts your vision “out of focus.” If your astigmatism is caused by a pterygium, treating the root of the issue should resolve the astigmatism.
Signs of Astigmatism
Aside from blurred or warped vision, there are some other symptoms that could indicate you have or are developing astigmatism. You may find yourself squinting to focus your sight more often than you used to. You may also find that your eyes feel more strained and tired than normal, or that your eyesight at night is getting progressively worse.
The best way to diagnose astigmatism is to come in for a dilated eye examination. While you may want to consider surgically or topically treating the root of the issue, some patients with mild astigmatism may also find that adjusting their lens prescription could help.
A pterygium can make the affected eye sore and irritated, and adding contacts into the mix is often too uncomfortable. In addition, if the pterygium has progressed enough, you may not even be able to properly fit your contact onto your eye.
The Benefits of Contacts
For patients who have enjoyed the convenience of contacts for years, losing the ability to wear them may be an upsetting transition. With contacts, you don’t have to worry about setting down your glasses while at work and losing them, or walking into a warm building and having your glasses fog up. Some patients also prefer the aesthetic of wearing contacts instead of glasses.
Contacts also tend to offer more natural vision, since they move with your eye and there’s no lens to block your range of sight. For patients who play sports, wearing contacts means they don’t have to worry about breaking their glasses or losing them mid-game.
FAQ About Pterygium Treatment
1. What Symptoms Can a Pterygium Cause?
A pterygium develops in a triangle shape. This deposit can be composed of protein, blood vessels, calcium, and fat. It often extends from the caruncle, that thin tissue on the corner of your eye that’s closest to your nose. As it grows, it can spread over the cornea and make its way toward the pupil. It can affect just one eye, or both of them.
Depending on how large the growth is, it can be a minor annoyance or a major problem. It can cause redness, infection, dry eyes, itching, a gritty feeling like there’s something in your eye, or blurred vision.
2. Are Pterygiums Different Than a Pinguecula?
While similar, there are some differences between these two conditions. Both are growths that can spread over the whites of the eyes, but a pinguecula usually presents as a yellow bump, and can appear almost anywhere on the conjunctiva, while a pterygium will usually be pink and spread from the corner of the eye. That said, in some cases, a pterygium can actually develop out of a pinguecula.
3. Can I Do Anything To Prevent Pterygiums?
If you either want to prevent developing surfer’s eye, want to slow down the current development of your condition, or hope to avoid a pterygium from coming back after surgery, there are several things you can do to protect your eyes.
Sunglasses that block ultraviolet light could help lower your risk of developing pterygium, or of the condition worsening if you already have it. As an added bonus, sunglasses come in all shapes and sizes, making them a fun accessory for almost any outfit.
Wear a Hat
Hats are a great tool to help protect your eyes from the sun. While wearing a hat and sunglasses is ideal, a hat can be helpful for patients with glasses that don’t want to swap out their prescription glasses for sunglasses, as that may sacrifice their ability to see clearly.
A wide-brimmed hat is ideal, and there are hats made of material that can block both UVA and UVB to offer better protection. Even on cloudy days, it’s recommended you protect your eyes from harmful rays. If the hat is able to block enough UV light, it can even help protect you against skin damage.
Use Artificial Tears
If you live in a dry climate, you can help support healthy eye function through the use of artificial tears. Keeping your eyes healthy can help prevent eye disease, and will help keep your eyes comfortable.
Watch for Dust
Keep irritating dust out of your eyes by wearing glasses or goggles in dusty or windy climates. Keeping dust away can also help protect your eyes from painful scratches.
4. What Causes a Pterygium?
The exact cause of this condition isn’t known, but patients who spend a lot of time in the sun and wind seem to be more likely to develop a pterygium. For that reason, protecting your eyes from wind and UV rays is considered a preventative measure against pterygiums.
5. How Are Pterygiums Different From Cataracts?
A pterygium occurs when the conjunctiva tissue overgrows and spreads. It’s often thick enough to look and feel raised. Meanwhile, cataracts are positioned behind your iris and involve a clouding of the lens. This can change how the lens is able to function, both in how much information it gathers and its ability to focus.
6. Can a Pterygium Make Me Blind?
If it is left to develop long enough, it can affect your vision by blocking your pupil. While uncommon, in some cases it can actually scar the cornea. If this is true for you, a minor scar can be addressed. However, severe scars can lead to blindness. That said, while it’s technically possible, it’s not likely that your pterygium will make you blind. It’s more likely to cause blurred vision than true blindness.
We Can Help With Your Pterygium Treatment
The best way to consider your treatment options is to talk to an experienced professional. Reach out today to Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS, to set up your consultation with Dr. Patel and get yourself one step closer to clear, healthy eyes.