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Pterygium (Surfer's Eye) Surgery Sydney

A pterygium is a common eye condition. It is an abnormal and usually benign growth of thin tissue that covers the white part of the eye, most often on the inner corner. The most common pterygium treatment is eye drops (artificial tears) and protective measures, such as sunglasses and hat wear. In more significant cases, surgical removal is recommended.


If you are struggling with this condition contact Vision Clinic Sydney for more information on Pterygium Surgery in Sydney.

What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a growth of the conjunctiva that grows onto the cornea. It can eventually lead to impaired vision and extreme eye discomfort. Patients with pterygium often first notice the condition because of the appearance of a lesion on their eye or because of irritation and inflammation.

pterygium surgery sydney
A pterygium is a fleshy growth of pink, triangular tissue that forms on the white of the eye.

What Causes Pterygiums?

A pterygium is a fleshy, triangular growth on the surface of the eye that can occur in one or both eyes. It is caused by long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, as well as wind and dust.


People who spend a lot of time outdoors without adequate protection for their eyes are at an increased risk of developing pterygium.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of pterygium is a fleshy pink or red bump on the white part of the eye. Other symptoms may include:

  • eye irritation
  • sensitivity to light
  • blurry vision
  • dry eyes
  • foreign body sensation
  • itching or burning
  • tearing
  • Redness
  • Inflammation of the upper eyelid
pterygium surgery
A pterygium can result in itchy, red, and tearing eyes.

The Benefits of Pterygium Surgery

Pterygium surgery offers several advantages, making it a viable option for many patients with this eye condition:


  • Improved Vision: Pterygium can distort vision, and surgery can restore clear sight.
  • Cosmetic Enhancement: Removal of the pterygium can improve the appearance of your eye.
  • Prevention of Complications: Surgery prevents the pterygium from growing further and causing more significant issues.
  • Reduced Irritation: After surgery, you’ll experience reduced redness, irritation, and foreign body sensation in the eye.

Risks of Pterygium Surgery

While pterygium surgery is generally safe, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and complications, including:


  • Infection: In rare cases, there’s a risk of infection, including serious blood-borne infections.
  • Recurrence: Although pterygium removal is effective, there is a slight chance of recurrent pterygium, requiring further surgery.
  • Scarring: While modern surgical techniques aim to minimise scarring, some degree of scarring may occur.

How do I Know if This Procedure is Right For Me?

To determine if pterygium surgery is suitable for you, consult with specialist cornea surgeon Dr Kumar. He will assess your condition and consider various factors, including the size and location of the pterygium and your overall eye health. If the pterygium is causing vision problems, discomfort, or affecting your quality of life, surgery may be recommended.

How is Pterygium Surgery Procedure Performed?

Pterygium surgery is typically done under local anaesthetic, and the most common surgical technique involves the following steps:


  1. Anaesthesia: Local anaesthetic is administered to numb the eye, ensuring you remain comfortable during the procedure.
  2. Pterygium Removal: The surgeon carefully removes the pterygium, along with any abnormal tissue or growth.
  3. Graft Placement: In most cases, a graft from the patient’s own tissue, such as conjunctiva or amniotic membrane, is used to cover the area where the pterygium was removed. This reduces the risk of recurrence.
  4. Closure. Our surgeon closes the incision with Fibrin glue, a tissue adhesive. Postoperatively, you will need to use anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops to aid healing.

The entire procedure is typically completed within 30 minutes, and you can return home the same day. Our ophthalmologist will provide post-operative care instructions to ensure a smooth recovery. Pterygium recurrence is typically low, in the order of 1%.

Pterygium Excision with Conjunctival Auto-grafting

In this procedure, the pterygium is removed along with the tissue covering the sclera (conjunctiva). Tissue is removed from the patient’s upper conjunctiva and used to cover the bare sclera. Dr Kumar advocates the use of modern tissue adhesives such as fibrin glue rather than sutures to fix the auto-conjunctival graft into place.

Pterygium surgery cost - Sydney

The cost of pterygium surgery may be dependent on the severity of the condition.
After a full consultation with Dr Kumar, you will be provided with a detailed quotation.

Please contact us directly or book a consultation to find out more about our prices.

eye surgeon sydney

Choose Vision Clinic Sydney for Your Pterygium Eye Surgery

eye surgeon sydney

Vision Clinic Sydney can help with pterygium surgery. We can provide a comprehensive eye examination to determine the degree of the condition and the best course of treatment.

Meet Dr Kumar

Dr Nikhil Kumar has a long-standing admiration for the complexities of the eye, leading him to pursue ophthalmology as a speciality. He was awarded a degree in Medicine from the University of Newcastle in 1998 and went on to finish his specialised training in ophthalmology at the Sydney Eye Hospital in 2008. He has further subspecialist cornea training and has performed thousands of pterygium surgeries.

His area of expertise in surgical procedures includes cataract surgery, refractive surgery, corneal transplantation, pterygium surgery, keratoconus management and laser vision correction.

How to book an appointment

For the initial visit, you will need to provide a referral letter from your primary care physician or eye specialist in order to qualify for a Medicare rebate for the consultation and any tests/procedures done at the clinic.

If you do not have a referral letter, you can still be seen at the practice, but you will not be able to claim a Medicare rebate.

You can download the referral PDF form or submit it online.

Please bring:

  • Any prescription glasses that you wear
  • Sunglasses or a hat as your eyes may be dilated during the consultation, resulting in possible sensitivity to light and blurred vision. You may not be able to read or drive for 4 hours after your appointment.
  • A list of current medications and details of your medical history
  • Your Medicare card, private health fund card and pension card if you have them.

Our location in Sydney

We are located in the central business district of Sydney in New South Wales. Our physical address is Level 6, Suite 605, 229 Macquarie St., Sydney NSW 2000, Australia.


Below you can find our most frequently asked questions:
The out-of-pocket cost of pterygium surgery in Australia can range from $500-$1800 per eye and depends on your level of private coverage, the type of surgery and the hospital where it is performed.

Pterygium surgery is generally not painful. Local anaesthesia is used to numb the area and most patients feel little to no discomfort during the procedure. After the procedure, some patients experience minor discomfort or redness, but this usually subsides within a few days.

Pterygium is often caused by frequent or excess exposure to the sun’s UV light. People who spend time outdoors are recommended to wear UV-protective eyewear and a hat.

This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.

Pterygium Excision with Conjunctival Auto-grafting

Pterygium Treatment Pterygium Excision with Conjunctival Auto-grafting

In this procedure, the pterygium is removed along with the tissue covering the sclera (conjunctiva). Tissue is removed from the patient’s upper conjunctiva and used to cover the bare sclera. Dr. Kumar advocates the use of fibrin glue rather than sutures to fix the autoconjunctival graft into place.

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