Medical Definition of Pterygium

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Pterygium: A wing-like triangular membrane. Although a pterygium can be anywhere, including behind the knee, it commonly refers to a winglet of the conjunctiva. This pterygium may extend across the white of the eye, toward the inner corner of the eye. It is caused by prolonged exposure of the eyes to wind and weather, or it can be an inherited disorder caused by a single gene. A pterygium can be removed with surgical procedures including laser treatment.

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Reviewed on 10/30/2018

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