A pterygium is a growth from the conjunctiva out onto the cornea. When the pterygium is not able to be calmed with artificial tears or occasional use of a mild steroid eye drop, surgery can be done to remove them.
Dr. Camp's surgical technique for removing pterygia has evolved from relocating a conjunctival flap from one side of the same eye to the other using fibrin glue to an advanced process in which a piece of an amniotic membrane is placed under a contact lens. This amniotic membrane helps to heal the area left behind after the pterygium is removed and it avoids the need to use sutures, which can be painful in the eye.
The eye is can mildly annoyed and red for a few weeks. Pterygia can grow back after surgery, sometimes right away, sometimes years later. Recurrence rates are about 10-20%. If the surgery needs to be done again, a medication is used during surgery to reduce the odds of future recurrence. This medication isn't used the first go around because of potential side effects.
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