+65 6339 8936


Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital, #10-21

+65 6339 8936



What is a pterygium?


A pterygium is a wing-like overgrowth of tissue arising from the “white” of the eye (conjunctiva), encroaching onto the “coloured” surface of the eye (cornea). It tends to occur in mid to late adulthood. This fleshy growth in the eye is not cancerous.


I notice a “reddish tissue” growing over the “coloured” part of my eye. Could that be a pterygium? What are the symptoms?


Very likely so. Many patients have no symptoms. However, in some patients, the pterygium can become red and inflammed in certain irritating environments such as smoke-filled rooms, air-conditioning etc. Less commonly, the pterygium may actually interfere vision by causing astigmatism due to its asymmetrical growth onto the surface of the eye, or by growing into the line of vision.


What are the causes?


There is a strong link with long-term exposure to sunlight, particularly UV exposure. People who spend more time outdoors are more likely to develop pterygia.


Can this unsightly reddish tissue overgrowth be removed?


Surgical removal of pterygia is advocated especially if the overgrowth is significant, and encroaching onto the “coloured” surface of the eye (cornea), causing significant astigmatism or simply obstructing vision. Occasionally, persistent or recurrent episodes of eye redness and discomfort necessitating long term usage of eye drops may be a relative indication for removal.

Pterygium surgical excision is relatively simple and quick. It involves excising the tissue overgrowth, using tissue glue to aid patching of the resulting defect with the transparent membrane of the eye called “conjunctiva”. The entire procedure can be done under local anaesthesia.

Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-21
Singapore 329563

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 830am to 5pm
Saturday: 830am to 1230pm