This surgery is our bread & butter.
A pterygium is a pinkish, triangular-shaped tissue growth on the cornea. Some pterygia grow slowly throughout a person’s life, while others stop growing after a certain point. A pterygium rarely grows so large that it begins to cover the pupil of the eye.
Pterygia are more common in sunny climates and in the 20-40 age group. Scientists do not know what causes pterygia to develop. However, since people who have pterygia usually have spent a significant time outdoors, many doctors believe ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun may be a factor. In areas where sunlight is strong, wearing protective eyeglasses, sunglasses, and/or hats with brims are suggested. While some studies report a higher prevalence of pterygia in men than in women, this may reflect different rates of exposure to UV light.
Because a pterygium is visible, many people want to have it removed for cosmetic reasons. It is usually not too noticeable unless it becomes red and swollen from dust or air pollutants. Surgery to remove a pterygium is not recommended unless it affects vision. If a pterygium is surgically removed, it may grow back, particularly if the patient is less than 40 years of age. Lubricants can reduce the redness and provide relief from the chronic irritation.
Dr. Martinez is considered one of the Top Surgeons for Pterygium Surgery in the DC metropolitan area and in the Nation; as well as an internationally recognized leader in Pterygium surgery. Proof of this fact is that very often other ophthalmologist send him their patients for his specialized procedure.
Dr. Martinez has performed thousands of Pterygium Procedures mastering his surgical skills on this procedure over the years. His outcomes offer excellent cosmetic results and an extremely low recurrence rate of 2.16%.
Dr. Martinez performs state-of-the-art pterygium removal surgery and is well known for his “no-stitch” surgical technique and instrumentation. He performs a complete excision of this lesion using no stitches during this surgery, and instead applies a special surgical glue. This highly specialized method for pterygium removal has raised the bar in looks and comfort for patients with pterygium. Patients from all over the country come to Visionary Ophthalmology for the expertise of Dr. Martinez and his method to remove pterygiums.
About “No-Stitch” Surgery
No-stitch pterygium surgery allows most patients to return to work within one or two days of surgery. Research studies have shown that patients undergoing no-stitch surgery had significantly less pain and discomfort after surgery than those having traditional surgery. The no-stitch technique also reduced surgery time by 20-30%.
Technique for “No-Stitch” Pterygium Surgery
In no-stitch surgery, the patient is lightly sedated to ensure comfort, and the eye is completely numbed, so there is no way to see the surgery occurring and no sensation of discomfort. The abnormal tissue is removed and replaced with a thin autograft or amniotic membrane. Over the next 2-4 weeks, the eye gradually returns to a normal appearance.
No-stitch surgery is made possible by the use of modern tissue adhesive. Composed of clotting proteins normally found in human blood, tissue adhesive allows the surgeon to secure a conjunctival autograft in seconds rather than minutes. After about one week the tissue adhesive dissolves with no residue, leaving the eye to heal comfortably. Although tissue adhesive is derived from human blood products, no cases of blood borne infection have ever been reported among millions of patients treated with this material in heart and lung surgery. This adhesive is “Fibrin tissue adhesive” and is a drug approved by the FDA for abdominal surgery.
From Dr. Martinez experience performing pterygium surgery, the use of fibrin glue for the attachment of conjunctival autografts in pterygium surgery is safe and effective in reducing early postoperative complications and patient discomfort. Furthermore, using fibrin glue in pterygium surgery significantly shortens the duration of surgery and therefore allows more rapid and efficient surgery, which may reduce the risk of infection and save the surgeon and the facility valuable operating-room time. From the patient’s standpoint, greater comfort allows a more rapid return to their normal lifestyle and productivity.
At Visionary Ophthalmology, Dr. Martinez uses the latest Surgical techniques, No-stitch surgery in order to prevent recurrences and obtain the best possible results for Pterygium Surgery.
- What is a pterygium?
- A pterygium is a fleshy growth that invades the cornea (the clear front dome of the eye). It is an abnormal process in which the conjunctiva (a membrane which covers the white of the eye) grows into the cornea. A pterygium may be small or grow large enough to interfere with vision and commonly occurs on the inner comer of the eye.
- What causes a pterygium?
- A pterygium occurs more often in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. Long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet (UV) rays is the main cause.
- How is a pterygium treated?
- We specialize in the surgical removal of pterygium, but sometimes, when a pterygium becomes red and irritated, topical eyedrops or ointments may be used initially to reduce the inflammation. The indications for surgical removal of a pterygium are: 1) prolonged discomfort and redness not relieved by eye drops 2) growth onto the cornea causing poor vision or inability to wear contact lenses, and 3) cosmetically objectionable. Surgical treatment is a very successful and effective method of treating pterygia. However, there is a chance that the pterygium may return. Protecting the eyes from UV light with proper sunglasses may help to prevent recurrences.
- What is a pingueculum?
- A pingueculum is a yellowish or pink patch or bump on the white of the eye. It is not a tumor, but an alteration of normal tissue resulting in a deposit of abnormal protein and fat. Unlike a pterygium, a pingueculum does not actually grow onto the cornea. A pingueculum may grow to become a pterygium, and also develops in response to chronic eye irritation and sunlight.
- How is a pingueculum treated?
- No treatment is necessary unless it becomes inflamed. A pingueculum does not threaten sight, but may progress to a pterygium unless the eye is protected from irritation and sunlight. If particularly annoying, a pingueculum may be surgically removed.
- Why are regular medical eye exams important for everyone?
- Eye disease can occur at any age. Many eye diseases do not cause symptoms until the disease has done damage. Since most blindness is preventable if diagnosed and treated early, regular medical exams by an ophthalmologist are very important. Why an ophthalmologist? Because an ophthalmologist provides total eye care: medical, surgical, and optical.