What the Pterygium?

The ophthalmologist said I have pterygium. Never heard of it. It’s also called surfer’s eye since many surfers develop it because the ultraviolet rays and the wind magnified near the ocean can create this problem. I’ve never lived by the ocean and never surfed so how did this happen?

My eyes look perpetually bloodshot. Bloodshot without the benefit of a heavy drinking binge the night before. They feel grainy, irritated, and my vision is cloudier.

Last year, my optometrist reground the lens of my new glasses twice because my vision didn’t seem right and I was sure my glasses were wrong. He finally said that my eyesight is as good as it’s going to get. Maybe the pterygium was developing at this point.

Pterygium has the same prefix as pterodactyl. Pter means one with wings just like that scaly dinosaur with its wings of stretched skin. I have a scaly growth on the inner corner of each eye.

Surgery is recommended. A surgery that stitches up the growth removal has a nearly 50% chance of recurrence. A newer form of surgery uses an amniotic glue to close up the scraping away of the growth and has about a 1% chance of recurrence. If too many surgeries are done, there is a chance that the scaly skin can no longer be removed and will eventually cloud up vision.

I have also learned that I have rosacea which has a connection to pterygium. By reducing rosacea flare ups, I can reduce the pterygium aggravation. Even with a perfect surgical procedure, an out-of-control rosacea can cause a regrowth of pterygium.

I always thought that rosacea was strictly a problem of vanity. I hope the rosacea/vision connection would get more exposure so that people can take note of the serious side effects. Red blotches on your face is one thing, losing your eyesight demands much more attention.

This is not good news for a reader like me. It is constraining my writing diversion as well.

Like Saul from the Bible, I need to have the scales lifted from my eyes. Perhaps I’ll find religion after the scales fall away. At the very least I hope my vision is preserved so I can read and write my way to the grave. What happens after that remains to be seen.

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2 responses to “What the Pterygium?

  1. I never know whether “like” is an appropriate reaction to bad news that’s been posted up so I’ll just wish you the best of health and luck.

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