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Eye Flesh (Pterygium)

Pterygium (eye flesh) initially has a slightly vascular structure, but as it progresses, it attaches to the corneal layer and causes the cornea to retract, resulting in astigmatism. With astigmatism, blurred vision begins. As it progresses to the pupil, it closes the visual axis, causing permanent vision defects. It is also popularly depicted as favorite meat walking.


In the initial stage when the symptoms of the disease appear, it causes complaints such as burning, stinging and occasionally bleeding.

Surgery is the only permanent method for treatment. After the surgery, it is necessary to take extra precautions to prevent the problem from recurring.

What is Pterygium?

Pterygium is popularly known as "eye flesh" or "bird wing", but the word means "little wing" in Greek. It occurs when the vascular and connective tissue of the membrane layer called conjunctiva, which covers the Sclera, the white layer of the eye, thickens and grows abnormally and advances onto the cornea, the outermost layer of the eye.

This advancing tissue is called fibroblastic tissue. As soon as this tissue progresses, it not only disrupts the aesthetic structure of the eye, but also causes vision impairment. It is usually seen on the inner side of the eye, close to the nose.

Pterygium can be seen in both eyes. However, it is not an infectious disease. If not surgically intervened, it may cause permanent vision loss.


What are the symptoms of pterygium?

The most obvious of the symptoms of pterygium is the appearance of tissue in the inner part of the eye, accompanied by problems such as itching and stinging. The disease begins in the white part of the frontmost surface of the eye and progresses to the corneal layer if not intervened. The problem of vision deterioration also arises as fibroblastic tissue progresses, which can cause astigmata over time. Apart from these symptoms, the following symptoms are also experienced:

  • If the patient uses glasses, their prescriptions change frequently,
  • Difficulty looking at the light,
  • Redness in the eyes after bathing. ,

It is one of the common symptoms of the disease.


What Causes Pterygium?

Although the cause of pterygium is not known exactly, the disease Among the reasons that occur, the first place is genetic transfer.

The rays coming into our eyes are collected in the area of our eyes close to the nose due to the structure of the lid and cornea. As a result of sunlight reaching this area, limbal stem cell deaths caused by ultraviolet rays begin. When stem cells begin to deteriorate in the limbus, which is located between the membrane we call cornea and conjunctiva, the conjunctiva comes into play and adheres to the corneal tissue by jumping over dead cells.

As a result of working outdoors, that is, being in dusty, dry and hot environments throughout life, long-term eyesight is impaired. It is more common in people who have experienced dryness.

The disease can also be seen frequently in people with chronic eyelash inflammation and dry eyes. Additionally, pterygium is more common in men. People with allergic eye diseases are also in the risk group.

How is Pterygium Treatment?

Various treatment methods are available to stop the progression of pterygium and prevent it permanently. Drop therapy is the main treatment method used for pterygium progression. Drop therapy is used to prevent dry eyes, take precautions in this regard, slow down the progression of the disease, and correct inflammation that may occur on the surface.

Although all these are preventive treatments, pterygium surgery is the only permanent treatment for the disease. The pterygium excision and graft application operation is a versatile surgery. With a good surgery, the chance of success varies between 85-100%.

How is Pterygium Surgery Performed?

Pterygium is treated with surgery when the fibroblastic tissue formed in the disease grows to a level that threatens the patient's vision, continues to advance into the cornea, and becomes cosmetically disturbing. The most important point in pterygium disease is to eliminate the risk of the disease recurring and repeating more aggressively next time. It is important in the treatment to reduce the risk of pterygium recurrence and the possibility of complications and to ensure a comfortable and rapid recovery process after surgery. Pterygium surgery is performed by physicians who are experts in Cornea and Ocular Surface Diseases and have a high level of microsurgery experience.

Pterygium Excision without Graft: After the eye is anesthetized with local anesthesia, the fibroblastic tissue that has advanced towards the cornea is removed. It is removed by cutting it from the ground.

Pterygium Excision with Graft: Nowadays, pterygium excision with graft is preferred instead of graft-free operation in order to prevent recurrence of the disease and for healing comfort. The procedure is performed as follows:

After the eye is anesthetized with the help of drop anesthesia, fibroblastic tissue is removed with a surgical intervention that takes approximately 30 minutes. In order to reduce the risk of recurrence of the disease, autograft tissue is taken from the lower area of the lid of the healthy eye and transplanted by grafting.

Autograft tissue from the healthy area is placed seamlessly using tissue adhesives or dissolvable stitches. In patients with recurrent pterygium who will undergo surgery two or even a third time, medications that will reduce the risk of recurrence can be used during surgery.

What are the things to consider after surgery?

  • Artificial tear drops should be used to support the treatment for up to 6 months.
  • The need for glasses to change occurs after the operation. This change should be made after 1 month,
  • Eyes should be constantly protected with UV filtered glasses in harsh daylight by using sunglasses,
  • Dusty environments should be avoided as much as possible, and protective glasses should be used in cases of necessity.
  • Artificial tear drops should be used in dry environments to prevent dry eyes.


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