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A pterygium is a growth of fibrous tissue on the conjunctiva of the eye that extends onto the cornea.



Most patients that present for a pterygium evaluation have a red, itchy, irritated eye. Blurred or changing vision can also be seen. However some are asymptomatic.



In the US: Occurrence within the United States varies with geographical location. Within the continental United States, prevalence rates vary from less than 2% above the 40th parallel to 5-15% in latitudes between 28-36°. A relationship is thought to exist between increased prevalence and elevated levels of ultraviolet light exposure in the lower latitudes.

Risk Factors:


Pterygia are reported to occur in males twice as frequently as in females (this finding may represent an increased exposure to ultraviolet light).



The treatment for pterygia is first topical lubricants. Sometimes topical anti-inflammatories are used for short term therapy. However, if the pterygia is large or approaching the visual axis, the treatment is surgical removal and placement of a conjunctival autograft or an amniotic membrane graft. Tisseal , a biological tissue adhesive is used instead of sutures, allowing for a more comfortable and faster postoperative healing. An antimetabolite is also administered during the surgery to help reduce regrowth. 

Dr. Baldinger was the first eye surgeon in the Northern Virginia area to perform pterygium surgery using Tisseal (biological tissue adhesive) instead of sutures to anchor the graft into place, shorterning the duration of the surgical procedure and expediting the healing of the eye postoperatively. Tisseal is used routinely in all of his pterygium surgeries.