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Pterygium Surgery & Pinguecula In New York City

Discover experienced pterygium surgery by calling 212-650-0400 or using our convenient Request an Appointment form. Patients come to us from Scarsdale, Chappaqua and Manhattan, New York, Newark, New Jersey, Greenwich, Connecticut and neighboring locations.



What is Pterygium & Pterygium Surgery?

Commonly seen in patients who have spent a lot of time in the sun, a pterygium is a wing-shaped growth on the white part of the eye (the conjunctiva) that then grows onto the cornea. In at risk patients, it is correlated with ultraviolet light (sun), wind, and dust exposure. There is no risk of malignancy and it is safe to monitor a pterygium. However, it can lead to some irritating symptoms, such as foreign body sensation, grittiness, redness, inflammation, and irritation. It can be concerning from a cosmetic point of view. Finally, it can also decrease vision, if it grows over the pupillary axis, or if it causes enough astigmatism. Surgical removal of the ptergyium involves removing the wing-shaped growth form the eye’s cornea and sclera.

What is Pinguecula & Pinguecula Surgery?

Similar to a ptergyium, a pinguecula is a wing-shaped growth on the conjunctiva (the white part of the eye) that does NOT extend onto the cornea (the clear part of the eye). It is similarly associated with sun, wind, and dust exposure. It can have a yellowish tint to it. Most pingueculum do not grow so much as to lead to a ptergyium. Pinguecula are typically removed for similar reasons as ptergyium: foreign body sensation, redness, inflammation, irritation, and tearing. Pinguecula usually do not lead to decrease in vision. Pinguecula surgery is similar to pterygium surgery and involves removal of the growth from the sclera of the eye.

Why Pterygium Surgery?

When conservative medical approaches do not adequately keep symptoms at bay, or when the vision has significantly declined, surgery is performed. Medical measures include lubricating drops, ointments, steroid drops, punctal plugs and glasses/ contact. Modern surgical techniques to remove pterygium and pinguecula have a very low recurrence rate, but that is always a risk. Dr. Rapoport meticulously removes the growth on the conjunctiva and cornea, and places an autograft or an amniotic membrane to cover the area. In recurrent cases, she uses Mitomycin C, an “antimetabolite” chemicals that prevent growth of tissue.

What to Expect?

You will take antibiotic drops for several days prior to the surgery and for a few weeks after. The surgery is about 45 minutes long and there is no pain or discomfort throughout. The growth is removed and Dr. Rapoport place a special amniotic membrane or healthy conjunctival tissue over the area of the defect. There is minimal discomfort for several days after, which is treated with ointment. The eye may be red and inflamed for a few weeks after the procedure, and it will go back to normal appearance a few weeks later. The patient is safe to go back to their day to day activities the next day.  



Pinguecula Surgery with Dr. Rapoport in NYC

As an ocular surface expert, Dr. Rapoport has years of experience working with the delicate tissue on the outside of the eye. She balances a conservative medical approach to pinguecula treatment with a technically advanced surgical approach when necessary, leaving the surface of the eye smooth and removing the inflammatory pinguecula.

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In the article “What You Need to Know About Dry Eye Syndrome”, Dr. Rapoport provides questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether or not you have dry eye syndrome.

Dr. Rapoport is interviewed for Women Crush Wednesday, a celebration of female movers and shakers in medicine.