A pterygium is a wedge-shaped piece of abnormal tissue that grows out of the corneaWhether or not surgical removal of a pterygium is recommended depends on its size and extent, as well as its tendency for recurrent inflammation. If a pterygium is small but becomes intermittently inflamed, the ophthalmologist may recommend a trial of a mild steroid eye drops during acute inflammatory flares.

Removal may be advised if the pterygium is growing far enough onto the cornea to threaten vision, or if it causes chronic inflammation and irritation. A pterygium can only be removed surgically. Recurrence of pterygia is fairly common after removal. Various kinds of eye drops are used postoperatively to decrease inflammation and help prevent recurrence.

Surgery removal of a pterygium is an outpatient procedure. It is not necessary for the patient to stay overnight. Postoperative drops and/or ointment are given. The eye might be red, swollen and irritable for one month after the operation and should be protected from wind and bright sunlight. Reading and writing might be uncomfortable for a couple of days after surgery.