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Pterygia are common conjunctival degenerations with well-documented risk factors but an unclear pathogenesis. Better understanding of the pathogenesis of pterygium could lead to improved surgical outcomes and decreased postoperative recurrence. Currently, pterygium excision with conjunctival autograft remains the preferred surgical technique to decrease pterygium recurrence. Many adjuvant therapies have been used in pterygium surgery to varying degrees of success. Topical cyclosporine, an immunosuppressive medication, in conjunction with conjunctival autograft was found to be most successful in decreasing pterygium recurrence according to a recent meta-analysis. Other adjuvant therapies such as mitomycin-C (MMC), 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and beta-irradiation have also been used, though usage of these may cause multiple adverse effects. Recent research indicates that interactions between mouse double minute 2 (MDM2) and p53 could play a role in the occurrence of pterygium. Nutlin, an MDM2 antagonist, was found to have significantly less toxicity in conjunctival cells when compared with MMC on laboratory analysis of pterygium samples.


Wai Kit Chu, Hiu Lam Choi, Amar K Bhat, Vishal Jhanji. Pterygium: new insights. Eye (London, England). 2020 Jun;34(6):1047-1050

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PMID: 32029918

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