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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Preoperative factors influencing success in pterygium surgery

Ana Torres-Gimeno1, Lucía Martínez-Costa1 and Guillermo Ayala2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Hospital Dr. Peset, Avda. Gaspar Aguilar, Valencia, 90, E-46017, Spain

2 Department of Statistics and Operational Research, Universidad de Valencia, Avda Vicent Andrés Estellés, Burjassot, 1, 46100-, Spain

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BMC Ophthalmology 2012, 12:38  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-12-38

Published: 8 August 2012



To identify preoperative, perioperative and postoperative risk factors that influence the success of pterygium surgery.


This is a prospective study of thirty-six patients with primary or recurrent pterygia. A detailed anamnesis and an ophthalmological examination were performed looking for the following factors: age, race, latitude and altitude of the main place of residence, hours of exposure to the sun, use of protective measures against UV-radiation, classification of pterygium, width of the pterygium at limbus, surgical technique (conjunctival autograft plus suturing versus tissue glue), graft alterations (misapposition, granuloma, haemorrhage, oedema, retraction or necrosis), and postoperative symptoms (foreign-body sensation, pain). The examinations were performed 2 and 7 days and 2, 6 and 12 months after surgery. In addition, recurrence was defined as any growth of conjunctiva into the cornea.


A logistic regression and a survival analysis have been used to perform data analysis. A total number of 36 patients completed a one year follow-up. A total of 13 patients were born and lived in Spain, and 26 came from other countries, mostly Latin America. A total number of 8 males (no women) presented a recurrence, mainly between 2 and 6 months. The hours of sun exposure through their life was independently related to surgical success. Pterygia of less than 5 mm of base width showed a weak positive correlation with recurrence. None of the other factors considered were significantly related to recurrence.


Male gender and high sun exposure are strongly and independently related to surgical success after the removal of pterygia.

Risk factors; Sunlight exposure; Pterygium surgery; Conjunctival autograft