What is pterygium?

A Pterygium is a fold of the conjunctiva (or lining of the eye and lids) which extends over the cornea (or the clear window at the front of the eye). Usually this lining stops at the edge, but when stimulated by UV (ultraviolet) light over a period of time, it grows over the cornea to protect it from ongoing damage. This may distort the vision or even reach as far as the visual axis. It may also interfere with the tear film, causing dry patches and redness.


Avoiding UV exposure of the eye is important to prevent a Pterygium forming. Wearing a hat and sunglasses is the key to prevention. Also avoiding times of maximal UV light during the day (between 10am and 3pm), and being aware of reflected light such as off concrete or water.

Pterygium Surgery

If severe bouts of inflammation (redness) occur repeatedly, or if the vision is blurred due to the Pterygium, then surgery may be indicated. A Pterygium is removed as a Day Stay procedure, and a graft from the conjunctiva applied. The graft covers up to the edge of the cornea, and helps supply new cells to heal the eye.

RANZCO Pterygium Surgery information