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Br J Ophthalmol. 2010 Jul;94(7):815-20. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2008.151852. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

The science of pterygia.

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Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, University of California Davis, Sacramento, California, USA.


Pterygium is an ocular surface disease of humans attributed to chronic ultraviolet-B exposure. Clinically, the condition involves invasive centripetal growth with associated inflammation and neovascularisation. Previous clinical studies focused primarily on the clinical characteristics and surgical management of pterygia and, because of this, the pathogenesis of pterygia remains incompletely understood. However, considerable progress in this area has been achieved, providing additional insight into this complex disease. This recent evidence implicates antiapoptotic mechanisms, immunological mechanisms, cytokines, growth factors, extracellular matrix modulators, genetic factors, viral infections and other possible causative factors. Limited investigation regarding differences in pathogenesis of primary and recurrent pterygia has been performed. We summarise many of these recent discoveries concerning the pathogenesis of pterygia and describe reported differences between primary and recurrent pterygia.

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