A pterygium is a fleshy growth that invades the cornea in the transparent tissue in front of the iris, or the color of the eye. It is an abnormal process in which the conjunctiva (a membrane that covers the white of the eye) grows into the cornea. A pterygium may be small or grow large enough to interfere with vision and commonly occurs on the inner corner of the eye.
The exact causes that produce a pterygium are somewhat unknown, but it is believe that a pterygium is more frequent in people that spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. Long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet (UV) rays, and chronic eye irritation from dry, dusty conditions seem to pay an important causal role.
When a pterygium becomes large and threatens eyesight, continues to grow, or becomes anti-aesthetic it can surgically removed. Dr. Montoya performs these surgeries onsite in his Huntington Park office.