Pink Eye / Conjunctivitis
Pinkeye is Conjunctivitis, it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.
It is very common amongst children and is highly contagious and can spread rapidly at schools. When you take care to prevent its spread and do all the things your doctor recommends, pinkeye clears up with no long-term damage.
Viral conjunctivitis can be caused by a common cold, bacterial conjunctivitis by bacteria or allergic conjunctivitis by eye irritants such as pollen, dust and animal dander among susceptible individuals.
What is a Pterygium?
A pterygium is a superficial growth, normally slowly advancing from the conjunctiva (white of the eye) onto the cornea (the clear tissue over the coloured iris).
Pterygiums are often confused with cataracts but have no resemblance to cataracts, which are opacities in the lens of the eye. They should, however, be differentiated from other superficial growths which may be benign or malignant.
The only proven cause of pterygiums is exposure to ultra-violet light, which damages superficial tissue. Pterygiums could be regarded as scar tissue formation in response to this damage.
Pterygiums normally progress slowly towards the centre of the eye but may take many years before actually threatening the sight.
Pterygiums occur in all age groups and are more common in people spending much time outdoors. They may be asymptomatic or, when more advanced, cause itching, burning, grittiness and redness. There is a frequent association with poor tear function.
Small symptomatic pterygiums are often managed satisfactorily with short courses of cortisone drops and artificial tear supplements. Surgery is considered when conservative treatment fails or when pterygiums are cosmetically unacceptable or sight-threatening.
Surgical removal of a pterygium is a relatively low-risk operation as it is limited to the surface of the eye. However, considerable discomfort is experienced post-operatively by most patients. Pterygiums have a very strong tendency to recur. Any one of a number of preventative techniques to curb recurrences may be routinely employed at the time of surgery.
Keeping the eye closed for the first 10-14 days after the operation usually makes it more comfortable.
Dust, water, shampoo and other foreign matter should be avoided. Drops are applied 4 times per day for the first 2 weeks. The eye usually remains conspicuously red for a few weeks and then returns to a normal white appearance after 6-8 weeks.