Purpose: To quantitatively evaluate the influence of pterygium and its removal surgery on both regular and irregular corneal astigmatism.
Methods: In 19 eyes of 19 patients undergoing pterygium surgery, videokeratographic measurements were taken before and 1 month after surgery. Using Fourier harmonic analysis, dioptric data on mire rings were decomposed into spherical, regular astigmatism, and irregular astigmatism (decentration and higher order irregularity) components. The distance between the line of sight and the advancing edge of pterygium was measured, and the eyes were classified into two groups: large pterygium group (the distance <2.0 mm, n = 7) and small pterygium group (> or =2.0 mm, n = 12). Fifteen eyes of 15 subjects served as age-matched normal control eyes.
Results: Before surgery, the magnitudes of regular astigmatism and higher order irregular astigmatism showed significant correlation with the size of pterygium. Regular astigmatism, asymmetry, and higher order irregularity in the large pterygium group were significantly greater than those of normal control eyes. The pterygium removal surgery significantly improved these changes, but regular astigmatism and higher order irregularity in the large pterygium group still remained significantly greater than those in the normal control eyes.
Conclusion: Pterygium induces a significant amount of regular and irregular astigmatism in proportion to its size. The removal surgery can improve these changes, but corneal distortion does not normalize completely in eyes with advanced pterygium.