Auto-Avulsion and Resolution of Corneal Pterygium

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Corneal pterygium is a frequently encountered ocular condition in clinical practice. The lesion presents as a fibrous, winged-like growth that typically manifests on the nasal aspect of the conjunctiva and cornea. Pterygia can be surgically removed by excision when they cause significant discomfort, visual impairment, or poor cosmesis. However, the recurrence rate after excision remains high without adjunctive therapy. We present an exceedingly rare case of resolution of a pterygium by auto-avulsion followed by subsequent recurrence of the lesion.

Case Report

A 63-year-old Asian man presented to the clinic with pain and foreign body sensation. Anterior segment evaluation revealed a large corneal epithelial defect with an adjacent area of loose conjunctival tissue. Ocular history included a pterygium in the same area of the defect. Subsequent follow-up revealed a regrowth of the pterygium at the exact location.


Strong tension imposed on the cornea by a pterygium could result in auto-avulsion of the lesion. The resulting corneal defect can then be treated accordingly. Recurrent pterygium is possible without adjunctive therapy, such as those seen with bare sclera excision.

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