Most of my patients are farmworkers exposed to high levels of pesticides, sun, and dust. A large proportion (>40%) have conjunctival injection and bilateral pterygium in each eye. What low-cost strategies are available to medically manage these eye problems? I tell patients to wear dark lenses and use lubricating eyedrops while working and recommend lavage with a sterile eye wash (e.g., Collyrium) b.i.d.
—Carla Hurt, PA-C, Grover Beach, Calif.
Your recommendations are right on the money! Pterygiums occur most commonly in tropical climates. Exposure to sun and humidity are the strongest risk factors. They are composed of highly vascularized tissue. Pterygiums are benign unless they encroach on the visual axis. The only treatment is surgical removal.
—Claire B. O’Connell, MPH, PA (107-6)