Pterygium treatment
June 21 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


A pterygium is an elevated, external ocular lesion that usually forms over the conjunctiva and extends onto the corneal surface. A pterygium can vary from small area to a large, aggressive, rapidly growing fibrovascular lesion that can distort the cornea and obstruct the direct line of vision through the pupil.

Cause, why it happens
Exposure to excessive sunlight, and possibly sand and wind are potential causes for a pterygium.
Pterygium is common among outdoor workers who are daily exposed to sunlight and dust due to repeated conjunctival / corneal drying and micro-trauma


Ophthalmology. 2013. Options and adjuvants in surgery for pterygium: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Evidence indicates that bare sclera excision of pterygium results in a significantly higher recurrence rate than excision accompanied by use of certain adjuvants. Conjunctival or limbal autograft was superior to amniotic membrane graft surgery in reducing the rate of pterygium recurrence. Among other adjuvants, there is evidence that mitomycin C and conjunctival or limbal autografts reduce the recurrence rate after surgical excision of a pterygium. Furthermore, the data indicate that using a combination of conjunctival or limbal autograft with mitomycin C further reduces the recurrence rate after pterygium excision compared with conjunctival or limbal autograft or mitomycin C alone. Additional studies are necessary to determine the long-term effects, optimal route of administration, and dose and duration of treatment for mitomycin C. Factors such as availability of resources, primary or recurrent status of pterygium, age of patient, and surgeon or patient preference may influence the surgeon's choice of adjuvant because there are insufficient data to recommend a specific adjuvant as superior.


Pterygium Research

Relationship between pterygium onset and ultraviolet rays exposure time.
Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2006.
Department of Ophthalmology, Fourth Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang, China.

To investigate the dose-effect relationship between the radiation of ultraviolet ray and the onset of pterygium quantitatively. Interrogation was conducted to 95 patients with pterygium in Yacheng district, Sanya City, Hainan Province, 37 males and 58 females, aged 55 +/- 13 (20 approximately 80), and 95 local volunteers in 1:1 pairs matched in age, sex, race, and similar habits of wearing glasses and caps (control group). Both the pterygium group and control group were re-divided into three sub-groups: youth (aged </= 40), middle-aged (aged 41 approximately 60), and elderly (aged > 60). The time of exposing to ultraviolet ray was calculated. Photo of the pterygium was taken. The length of the pterygium invading into cornea was measured. The ultraviolet ray exposure time of the youth subgroup, pterygium group, was significantly higher than that of the youth subgroup, control group. The ultraviolet ray exposure time of the middle-aged subgroup, pterygium group, was 73 412 hours, significantly higher than that of the middle-aged subgroup, control group (63 368 +/- 25 091 hours). However, there was no significant difference in the ultraviolet ray exposure time between the elderly subgroups of both groups. The length of the pterygium invading into cornea was positively correlated with the ultraviolet ray exposure time and the length showed a trend of increased with aging. There is a certain dose-effect correlation between ultraviolet ray exposure and the etiology of pterygium.


Q. i have been researching online for alternatives to pterygium surgery. I briefly saw on a website that santa lucia eye drops or n-acetylcysteine may be helpful. Is there any possibilty of getting more information on those products that they in fact could heal pterygium or could you recommend any product that could help heal it.
   A. At this time this is all the info we have on pterygium, we are not aware of santa lucia eye drops or the effectiveness of acetylcysteine.


Q. My husband had pterygium surgery and is still having trouble with his vision. His eyes get tired when reading with or without glasses and distance is not as sharp. He is 51 and has a family history of mac. deg. and glaucoma and knows he can have better vision if he found the right supplement. Do you think Eyesight Rx supplement will help the pterygium?
   A. Eyesight Rx helps vision in most users, but we have no reports from those who have this condition or have had pterygium surgery and have used Eyesight Rx.