What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a wing-shaped growth of the conjunctiva, the clear layer covering the white part of the eye. Pterygium formation is often related to sun damage, wind exposure, or chronic dryness. Pterygia often enlarge over time and may grow over the cornea, or clear window at the front of the eye. In some cases, pterygia may become inflamed or painful. They may also pull on the cornea, resulting in an irregular corneal curvature called astigmatism. This can make vision blurry or distorted.

How is a Pterygium Treated?

Pterygium treatment includes the use of lubricating eye drops and eyewear with ultraviolet light protection. Prescription drops may be helpful to treat associated inflammatory or Dry Eye Disease. If a pterygium grows large enough to cause problems, your ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to remove it.

What to Expect Before Your Procedure

Your doctor will schedule a clinic visit to evaluate and discuss your condition. At this visit, you will undergo a detailed eye examination including vision assessment, measurement of your glasses prescription (refraction), mapping of the corneal shape (topography), and sometimes photos of your eyes. This helps your doctor assess how to best treat your eyes. After evaluating the results of these measurements and examining your eyes, your doctor will discuss whether treatment is indicated.

What to Expect After Your Procedure

After the procedure, the eye usually feels irritated or painful for days to weeks. You will be asked to place drops in the eye for several weeks to help with healing.

Vision in the eye will likely be somewhat blurry during the initial healing period. The vision gradually improves each week. Your glasses prescription will likely shift as the eye heals. If needed, glasses may often be updated when the eye stabilizes 1-3 months after the procedure.

Pterygium Surgery, Stillwater, MN

Associated Eye Care offers treatment for cornea problems at our clinic on Curve Crest Boulevard in Stillwater. Pterygium consultations are scheduled with Dr. Vislisel at our Stillwater and Woodbury locations. Schedule an appointment now or call (800) 846-1877 for more information.

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Jesse M. Vislisel, M.D.

Corneal & External Disease, Refractive Surgery (Including LASIK), Cataract Surgery, Comprehensive Ophthalmology

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Dr. Vislisel is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in cornea, external disease, and refractive surgery. He received
his medical degree from the University of Iowa in 2007 and graduated with Research Distinction. He then completed his medical internship in Tucson, Arizona and returned to the highly-ranked University of Iowa for his ophthalmology residency and fellowship training in cornea and external eye disease where he received the Fellow Teaching Award and the P.J. Leinfelder award for excellence in research. He has special interest in cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, corneal crosslinking, anterior segment and ocular surface surgery, and laser refractive surgery such as LASIK.

Dr. Vislisel enjoys technology and the rapid technological advances that occur in the field of ophthalmology. He has authored many peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and previously served as an editorial board member and chief medical editor for EyeRounds.org, a leading resource for ophthalmology education. His outside interests include music, cycling, fishing, outdoor recreation, and spending time with his wife and three children at the family cabin.

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