Home of P.E.R.F.E.C.T. for PTERYGIUM®

Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

  • I don’t like the look of my pterygium. What will my eye look like after surgery?

    If there is no recurrence, it is highly likely that within 6 months after the surgery, you will probably not be able to tell which eye has had surgery. If this surgery is on a pterygium that has already been removed, the cosmetic result may not be as good. However, you will still be left with visible normal blood vessels in the area that are vital to the health of the eye.

  • Can my pterygium blind me?

    It is highly unlikely that your pterygium could blind you but if it is neglected and grows it can seriously interfere with vision.

  • Is a pterygium some form of cancer?

    This is not a cancer but in about 10% of pterygia there may be some findings that suggest a pre-cancerous change when the specimen removed at surgery is looked at by the pathologist. This does not mean that cancer will develop later on but reflects the excessive exposure to sunlight that is common to the development of pterygium and to cancer on the surface of the eye. This also explains why all pterygium specimens are sent to a pathology laboratory. You will receive an account from a pathology laboratory after the surgery. It is very unlikely that this finding will be of significance to you as most likely the precancerous change has been removed by the pterygium removal. If a lump developed on the nose side of the eye in the decades to come, it could be a recurrence of the precancerous change, rather than the pterygium coming back.

  • Is a pterygium the same as a cataract?

    No, a cataract is an aging change that affects the focussing lens inside the eye. A pterygium is a change on the surface of the eye and is frequently found in much younger people that those that have a cataract. Cataracts normally affect vision at an early stage.

  • Will removal of my pterygium improve my vision?

    If your pterygium is causing a distortion of your cornea (crystal window of your eye) it is possible that your vision may improve after successful surgery and as a result you will almost certainly need new glasses. Sometimes, scarring and distortion of the cornea may persist after even successful surgery with no  recurrence of your pterygium.

  • Other members of my family have pterygia. Is it hereditary?

    Is unlikely that typical pterygia are inherited. However, family members frequently are exposed to similar amounts of sunlight and this may be the reason why other members have a pterygium.

  • If I have a pterygium on the nose side and the ear side of the same eye, will you remove both at once?

    I will always separate the removal of two pterygia on the one eye by at least 6-12 months so that there is complete healing of the area from which the graft is taken and a further graft can be taken from the same area for the second pterygium removal.


  • Do I require a referral to be seen?

    You do require a referral, from either your general practitioner or your optometrist which will enable you to be entitled to a rebate on your initial consultation from Medicare.

  • How often will I need to be seen in your rooms?

    If there are no unusual circumstances, the followup schedule is one day, one month, and at three or four months after the surgery.

  • Why do I need to see you for up to one year after the surgery?

    The period of  highest risk of the pterygium returning is in the first year. If there is a recurrence this should be picked up at the earliest possible time.

  • Can I see someone else for followup?

    I prefer that you return to me for followup as I have great experience in assessing the normal course of the eye recovering from pterygium surgery. However, if you live a long way away, it may be possible to handover the followup visits to your optometrist or ophthalmologist. You would need to have eye pressure measurements and other specialised eye examinations undertaken by your optometrist or referral ophthalmologist. I will usually request that you return to me for the final visit which may be up to one year after the surgery. This may be avoided in special situations.



  • Will I be restricted in what I can do after the surgery?

    You will not be able to swim for about a month. You may have difficulty driving or working for a few days to a week because of temporary double vision and irritation.

  • Will I need to take time off work after the surgery?

    Yes, you will require approximately 1- 2 weeks off work after the surgery and we will provide you with a medical certificate for your employer if required, the day after your surgery.

  • How long will significant pain last?

    Usually tablets for pain will be needed for 1-3 days only.

  • What will I be given to control the pain after the surgery?

    The surgery will be undertaken using an anaesthesia called a peribulbar block that will persist for up to 4-6 hours after the surgery. You will be given either Tablets Panadeine forte or Mersyndol forte to take for the first 24-48 hours.

  • Why am I noticing double vision?

    The removal of your pterygium required exposure of a muscle that turns your eye in towards your nose. The swelling around this area restricts the ability of this muscle to work fully for one to two weeks and so the eye will not turn in well for that time while your unoperated eye moves well.

  • How long will double vision last?

    Usually double vision will be gone by 1 week, although occasionally some double vision in looking to the extreme right or left, may last for a few months. This is usually not noticeable during normal eye activities.

  • How long will it take for the redness to resolve?

    Usually the redness will be gone within 4 weeks, although sometimes some blood or bruising on the white of the eye may persist for 6-8 weeks.

  • How long will the irritation last?

    This will usually be gone by 2-4 weeks.

  • How long will the eyelids be swollen?

    The swelling is usually resolved within 2-3 weeks.

  • When will stitches be removed?

    The stitches will spontaneously resorb over 4-6 weeks and will not require removal. You will not feel them for the entire 6 weeks as they soften after the first week at which time you will probably no longer notice them.

  • Why do I need a patch over the eye?

    This is to keep the eye clean during the time it takes for the eye to reform its lining and reduce the risk of infection. This is accomplished within 1-2 weeks after surgery.

  • Will I need a change in glasses?

    The removal of the pterygium may result in a return to normal curvature of your cornea (crystal window of the eye)  and this will mean that your old glasses will not be appropriate for the new curvature. If you did not wear glasses before the surgery, it is sometimes necessary to wear glasses afterwards.

Eye drops

  • Why do I have to use eyedrops after the surgery?

    One set of drops to be used for the first week are antibiotic drops to reduce the risk of infection until the lining heals over on the eye which takes about one week. The drops that are to be used for a total of nine weeks, are steroid or cortisone drops that are crucial in reducing the risk of your pterygium recurring and to speed the recover of the eye.

  • How long will I need to use eye drops after the surgery?

    You will be on intensive drops (every 2 hours while you are awake) for three weeks and then for a further 6 weeks at 4 times a day.

  • Are there any risks using the steroid drops?

    In a small proportion of patients the steroid drops can raise the pressure in the eye which can lead to glaucoma. Usually identifying the rise in pressure at the 4 week appointment and treating the pressure and then stopping the steroid drops, results in the pressure returning to normal. In a very small number of patients the pressure can stay elevated and this is a serious problem that will require treatment.


  • Why are your surgery costs not on the website?

    The costs of surgery vary from person to person and depend upon many factors including how often the pterygium has been removed if at all, if you have private insurance or not and your level of cover. Once you have had  your initial consultation we provide you with a full written quotation so you will know all the costs in advance of booking the surgery.

  • Why have I received an account for pathology?

    All pterygium specimens are sent to a pathology laboratory to exclude any unsuspected changes that it would be important for you to know, e.g. precancerous changes.