Pterygium

January 2, 2005
Alexander K. C. Leung, MD
Alexander K. C. Leung, MD

,
Justine H. S. Fong, MD
Justine H. S. Fong, MD

For 2 years, a 66-year-old woman had a winglike structure on the nasal sideof her right eye. She had normal vision. A diagnosis of pterygium was made.

For 2 years, a 66-year-old woman had a winglike structure on the nasal sideof her right eye. She had normal vision. A diagnosis of pterygium was made.This fleshy, raised, triangular thickening of the bulbar conjunctivaextends onto the cornea, unlike a pinguecula, which affects only the conjunctiva.Pterygium is from the Greek word for "wing." It results from thedegeneration of normal subconjunctival tissue and its subsequent proliferationas vascular granulation tissue. The condition is more prevalent in olderpersons, especially those living in areas with sunny and windy climates. Inlong-standing cases, the pterygium may encroach onto the pupil and impairvision. In these cases, surgical removal of the pterygium is required. Otherwise,the pterygium can be left alone.This patient was reassured of the benign nature of the lesion. She wasadvised to wear sunglasses that provide ultraviolet protection and to use artificialtear lubrication to prevent further progression.