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Current concepts and techniques in pterygium treatment

Ang, Leonard PKa,b,c; Chua, Jocelyn LLa,c; Tan, Donald THa,b,c

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: July 2007 - Volume 18 - Issue 4 - p 308–313
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e3281a7ecbb
Corneal and external disorders

Purpose of review Pterygium is a common ocular disorder in many parts of the world. At present, there is a wide variety of surgical methods but very few clinical guidelines on the optimal treatment of primary or recurrent pterygium. The purpose of this review is to summarize the more recent and relevant studies on pterygium treatment.

Recent findings The primary aim is to excise the pterygium and prevent its recurrence. As bare sclera excision is associated with a high recurrence rate, pterygium excision is often combined with conjunctival autograft, mitomycin C, beta-irradiation or other adjunctive therapies to reduce recurrence rates. There is currently, however, no consensus regarding the ideal treatment for the disease. Comparability between studies is also hampered by the various definitions of pterygium recurrence.

Summary This article reviews the current concepts and techniques used for the treatment of pterygium. Conjunctival autografting and mitomycin C application are the most commonly used methods for preventing recurrences. The use of mitomycin C and beta-irradiation should be used judiciously because of the potential long-term risk of sight-threatening complications. Additional clinical trials should be performed to evaluate the relative efficacies and long-term safety of the various treatment modalities.

aSingapore National Eye Centre, Singapore

bDepartment of Ophthalmology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

cSingapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore

Correspondence to Leonard P.K. Ang, MD, Singapore National Eye Centre, 11 Third Hospital Avenue, Singapore 168751 Tel: +65 62277255; fax: +65 62277266; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.