What is Pterygium (Eye Flesh)?
Although pterygium is popularly known as “eye meat” or “bird’s wing”, the word means “little wing” in Greek. It is formed when the vessels and connective tissue of the membranous layer called the conjunctiva, which covers the sclera, which is the white layer of the eye, become abnormally thick and enlarged, moving onto the cornea, the outermost layer of the eye.
This progressive tissue is also known as fibrovascular tissue. The tissue in question causes both the deterioration of the aesthetic structure of the eye and the emergence of various visual defects from the moment it starts to progress. It is generally seen in the inner part of the eye, which is closer to the nose area.
Pterygium can be seen in both eyes. Although it is a non-communicable disease, in some cases, the need for surgical intervention may arise. Otherwise, there will be a possibility of situations such as permanent vision loss.
What Causes Pterygium?
Although the cause of pterygium disease is not known exactly, genetic transmission is the first cause of the disease.
The rays coming into our eyes are collected in the area of our eye close to the nose due to the structure of the lid and cornea. As a result of sunlight coming to this area, limbal stem cell death caused by ultraviolet rays begins. When stem cells begin to deteriorate in the limbus, which is located between the membrane we call the cornea and the conjunctiva, the conjunctiva comes into play and sticks to the corneal tissue by jumping over the dead cells.
It can be seen more in people who have long-term dry eye as a result of being in dusty, dry and hot environments, that is, working outdoors.
The disease can also be encountered frequently in people with chronic eyelash inflammation and dry eye. In addition, pterygium is more common in men. People with allergic eye diseases are also in the risk group.
What are The Symptoms of Pterygium?
The symptoms of pterygium appear as a subject that is curiously researched by many people. The most common symptoms are known as a tissue appearing in the inner part of the eye and accompanying complaints such as itching and stinging.
The disease starts in the layer that forms the most anterior surface of the eye and progresses to the cornea in cases where the necessary intervention is not made. This tissue, which causes astigmatism to occur over time, also brings vision problems.
In addition to these symptoms, the following symptoms stand out as the most common symptoms of pterygium;
- Difficulty looking at light, hypersensitivity to light
- Redness of the eyes after a bath
- If the patient has an eye defect and wears glasses, rapid progression of the eye degree due to the disease
- Burning, stinging, pain
- Sensation of having a foreign body in the eye
- Blurred vision, feeling of dry eyes
- Tear, especially when blinking frequently
How is Pterygium Diagnosed?
An ophthalmologist or ophthalmologist can diagnose the gingiva. The doctor first listens to your complaints and evaluates the abnormal growth and spotting in the eye. Your doctor may note the location, size, and color of the eyeball. This information is important for monitoring favorite meat growth progress. Although the diagnosis can usually be made by visual examination, you may have to order other tests to confirm the diagnosis. Early diagnosis is very important for eye disease. Therefore, when you notice the symptoms, you should consult a specialist doctor.
What is Pterygium Surgery?
The disease is initially seen as a yellow-white swelling in the white part of the eye, and over time it grows towards the transparent layer of the eye (cornea). Pterygium can be seen in both eyes.
It is removed by a surgical operation when the pterygium progresses to the cornea in a way that threatens the vision or disturbs the patient aesthetically. Pterygium surgery is a very privileged operation.
This operation should be performed by experts in the field and together with autograft or amniotic membrane transplantation in order to prevent recurrence of pterygium disease.
How is Pterygium Surgery Performed?
When the fibroblastic tissue formed in pterygium disease grows to a level that threatens the patient’s vision and continues to progress to the cornea and cosmetically disturbs the defect, it is treated with surgery.
The most important point in pterygium disease is to eliminate the risk of recurrence of the disease and relapse more aggressively the next time.
It is important in treatment to reduce the risk of pterygium recurrence and the possibility of complications and to ensure a comfortable and fast recovery process after surgery.
Pterygium surgery is performed by physicians who are experts in Cornea and Ocular Surface Diseases and have a high level of microsurgery experience.
Ungrafted Ptergium Excision:
After the eye is anesthetized with local anesthesia, the fibroblastic tissue that has progressed towards the cornea is cut and removed from the place where it comes out.
Grafted Ptergium Excision:
Today, graft-free pterygium excision is preferred instead of graft-free operation in terms of disease recurrence and healing comfort.
The process is carried out as follows:
After the eye is anesthetized with the help of drop anesthesia, the fibroblastic tissue is cleaned with an average of 30 minutes of surgical intervention.
In order to reduce the risk of recurrence of the disease, autograft tissue is taken from the lower part of the lid of the healthy eye. And it is transplanted by grafting.
Autograft tissue taken from the healthy area is placed seamlessly using tissue adhesives or dissolving sutures.
In patients with recurrent pterygium who will be operated for the second or third time, drugs can be used to reduce the risk of recurrence during surgery.
What Should Be Considered After Pterygium Surgery?
After the pterygium surgery, there are some topics that should be considered in order to heal well and to prevent the recurrence of pterygium.
After the surgery;
- Artificial tear drops should be used for up to 6 months.
- It is necessary to change the glasses number after the operation.
- UV glasses should be used and prolonged exposure to sunlight should be avoided.
- Dusty environments should be avoided.
- Eye dryness should be avoided and tear drops should be used in case of being in dry or air-conditioned environments.
Recovery After Pterygium Surgery
Pterygium must be surgically removed. The surgery is performed with local anesthesia and takes only about 15-20 minutes. It is not necessary for the patients to stay in the hospital after the operation unless otherwise stated by the physician. After the operation, the eye is closed for a few days and the watering in the eye lasts for about a week. Patients can return to their daily lives within a week after surgery. It may take up to 1.5 months for the patient to complete the full recovery process.
Does Progression of Pterygium Cause Eye Loss?
Meat walking in the eye is a slow process. When it is noticed in the early stages, its growth can be stopped by taking appropriate measures. However, an untreated eyeball that grows towards the center of the eye can cause vision loss. It often causes astigmatism, visual discomfort and corneal surface problems. Therefore, when you notice the symptoms, you should immediately consult an ophthalmologist. With early diagnosis and treatment, you can prevent vision loss.
What Should Be Done to Prevent Pterygium Formation?
Pterygium, which is expressed as a benign growth in the conjunctival layer of the eye, usually occurs as a result of exposure to sunlight and eye-irritating particles. Therefore, it may be possible to prevent pterygium by taking simple precautions, at least to reduce the risk of pterygium.
- Use sunglasses that protect the eyes against UV rays.
- You can wear a wide hat in addition to sunglasses when you go out on sunny days.
- You can try to stay away from chemicals, dust, wind and cigarette smoke that irritate your eyes.
- If your working environment has conditions that will harm your eye health, you should wear protective glasses.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pterygium
Does The Pterygium Go Away On İts Own?
Meat in the eye, namely pterygium, does not usually go away on its own. You should go to the doctor and get treatment before it starts to affect the eye center.
Is Surgery Necessary If Meat In The Eye Does Not Affect Vision?
The most important factor in deciding on pterygium surgery is the decrease in vision. However, it is also possible for this eye problem to cause cosmetic concerns. For this reason, even if their vision does not decrease, eyelid surgery can be performed on patients who are aesthetically uncomfortable, if their general health conditions are suitable.
Is Occupation Effective in Pterygium Formation?
Yes, spending time outdoors on sunny days is known to increase the likelihood of pterygium formation, as exposure to eye-irritating particles and sun rays. Therefore, I can say that professions where you have to spend time outside on sunny days and working in environments with particles that threaten eye health can cause meat growth in the favorite.
Is Pterygium Treatment With Medication?
Drops are used in the initial stages of pterygium treatment. Drops slow the progression of the disease. After the pterygium surgery, there are special drugs used both during and after the surgery.
Does Pterygium Recur?
Pterygium may recur despite surgery. Especially in the case of graftless surgery, the rate of recurrence is high. Therefore, physicians aim to increase the permanence of the surgery by applying a grafted pterygium sketch in order to ensure that the surgery is the definitive solution.