Pterygium surgery is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess, untreated tissue from your eyes. Pterygium (more commonly known as “pimples”) are red, swollen, and tender lumps that appear on the surface of your eye and sometimes inside of them. Because they look like acne, many people often mistake pterygium for acne. The cause of pterygium is unknown; it’s not clear whether it’s the result of an underlying condition or the result of reacting to certain triggers in your environment. Pterygium typically disappears within two weeks to a month.
Since pterygium surgery has both pre and post-operative complications, you’ll need to follow a strict pre-op and post-op recovery period. This means adhering to the post-op instructions given by your ophthalmic surgeon, staying away from the treated eye for several days following the operation, and avoiding contact with any of the treated areas for two to three weeks. During this period, you will experience pain and irritation, which can last for several days. Fortunately, there are many options available to relieve pain and irritation, such as topical creams, oral medications, and antibiotics.
The most common pterygium surgery complication is infection of the surrounding tissue, which is referred to as post-operative infection. Two to four weeks after the operation, you will experience redness and possibly some swelling, as well as a sensation that you may be burning. These symptoms will subside as the body begins to heal, but you may experience further irritation if you do not take care of your eye properly during this time. You should clean the eye at least twice daily with warm salt water, apply a topical antibiotic ointment, and avoid rubbing the eye. You should avoid scratching the area or making permanent marks on it, as these actions will cause even more discomfort.