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Preparing for your eye surgery

- What to expect
Our aim is to provide stress free, efficient, high quality eye surgery on a day only basis. Read about the procedures and what to expect on the day read more

Annual Eye Update

Tuesday 9 August
Dr Robaei discusses the practical aspects of cataract surgery and Dr Swamy uses retinal cases as the basis of his discussion. read more

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News and Updates


By Dr Robyn Armstrong, Spring 2006


A fibrovascular growth of the conjunctiva, which encroaches onto the cornea, usually located nasally.

Image of an eye showing an example of Pterygium

Pinguecula Definition:

A benign yellow/white thickening in the interpalpebral nasal or temporal bulbar conjunctiva. Rarely requires treatment.


Although a genetic predisposition is likely, adverse atmospheric factors such as UV light, dust and wind are associated with increased incidence.


This varies with age, sex of patient (male > female), UV light exposure occupation, environment and location. There is a higher prevalence in places of lower latitude and in high UV exposure countries, eg Australia.


This should be directed to prophylaxis with the wearing of a brimmed hat and sunglasses with 100% UV light absorption.

Indications for Surgery:

  • A threat to vision:
  • The pterygium may impinge on the visual axis.
  • Astigmatism: there is flattening of the cornea in the longitudinal axis of the pterygium.
  • Persistent irritation and redness.
  • Contact lenses: Pterygia must be excised in order to wear soft contact lenses successfully.
  • Cosmesis.

At the MetWest Eye Centre a specialist anaesthetist administers IV sedation and induces ocular anaesthesia with a peribulbar injection. This procedure is painless.

Surgical Procedure:

After removing the pterygium with its underlying subconjunctival fibrovascular tissue, a conjunctival autograft (from the superior bulbar conjunctiva) is placed over the conjunctival defect and secured by sutures. This graft acts as a physical barrier to regrowth.

Post-operative Management:

The eye is padded for 48 hours, then antibiotic and steroid drops are instilled for three weeks. Discomfort is well controlled by simple analgesics such as paracetamol.


Recurrence with the above technique is <5% but of the order of 50% if conjunctival grafting is not performed. Infection, haemorrhage and granulomatous formation are rare.

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