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Pterygium Excision: The procedure, risks, complications, preparations

  • Posted on- Aug 24, 2016
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Written by site author.

Pterygium Excision is a procedure that improves vision through the removal of a pterygium, which are abnormal benign tissue that grow over the cornea. A Pterygium Excision procedure involves the eye, cornea, and conjunctiva, which are membranes that cover the eye.

What are the reasons behind pterygium excision surgical procedure?

A Pterygium Excision is performed for the following reasons:

How a pterygium excision surgical procedure is performed?

  • A Pterygium Excision procedure is performed under local or topical (using eye drops) anaesthesia
  • The ophthalmologist uses an instrument called speculum to keep the eyelids open during surgery
  • The surgeon then cuts and removes the pterygium
  • After excising the pterygium, the bare area of the sclera (the white of the eye) may be left as it is or covered with a part of the patient’s conjunctiva (the clear tissue over the white of the eye) taken from another area of the eye
  • An amniotic membrane (the sac-like tissue that contains the growing baby in the womb) may also be used to cover the bare sclera after a Pterygium Excision

An ophthalmologist performs a Pterygium Excision surgical procedure. The procedure usually takes less than an hour to perform.

Preparations needed before a pterygium excision surgical procedure

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are currently being taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products for a while before the surgery
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • The patient must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the surgical procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged
  • For individuals suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not, their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Risks and complications during pterygium excision surgical procedure

The possible risks or complications that may arise during the pterygium excision surgery are:
  • Infection within the eye
  • Anaesthetic complications

Risks and complications after pterygium excision surgical procedure

The possible risks and complications that may arise after the pterygium excision procedure are:

Post-operative care needed after pterygium excision surgical procedure

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended after a pterygium excision procedure:
  • Avoid sunlight exposure for the first 6 weeks after the procedure. Wear UV protection sunglasses to avoid a direct exposure
  • Individuals should wear an eye patch at night while sleeping, to protect the eye
  • Avoid all activities that are physically strenuous for about 3 weeks after the surgery (as advised by your physician)
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication as advised by your physician
  • Take antibiotic medication to help combat or prevent infection, per your physician’s advice
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain (per the physician’s advice)
  • Using steroidal eye drops can help decrease the possibility of an infection (under advice of your physician)
  • Resume driving a few days after the procedure or once the eye patch is removed (if prescribed) however, do follow your physician’s instructions


user profile image
19-09-2017 05:21 PM

This is a very commonly performed procedure which can be used to give better results of vision.

user profile image
25-03-2017 04:18 PM

I had gone through Pterygium Excision surgery few months ago. Now my vision is very much clear and can see the world more clearly.

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