Long-term follow-up study of mitomycin eye drops as adjunctive treatment of pterygia and its comparison with conjunctival autograft transplantation

Cornea. 1990 Oct;9(4):331-4.


We observed 48 patients for 7-21 months (mean, 18 months) after pterygium excision and 2 weeks of placebo or mitomycin topical therapy to evaluate whether or not the short-term efficacy of mitomycin in preventing pterygium recurrence would be reflected in long-lasting efficacy as well. Placebo-treated pterygia showed a 73% recurrence rate. One of 58 (1.7%) mitomycin-treated pterygia recurred (p less than 0.05). We also performed a pilot study comparing pterygia treated with excision followed by 0.4 mg/ml of mitomycin to pterygia treated with excision coupled with conjunctival autograft transplantation to estimate the number of patients required for a randomized clinical trial comparing these two treatment modalities and thereby to decide whether or not such a study would be justified. Thirteen primary and two recurrent pterygia were treated with mitomycin, while 14 primary and one recurrent pterygia were treated with conjunctival autograft transplantation. With mean follow-up times of 4 and 6 months, respectively, no recurrences were noted in the mitomycin-treated group, while the conjunctival autograft transplantation group had one recurrence (6.6%). We estimate that 400 patients would be required for a properly designed clinical trial comparing these two effective therapies for prevention of recurrent pterygia. We conclude that such a study is unjustified, and further conclude that the vastly less expensive, simple therapy of mitomycin eye drops is the more appropriate treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Conjunctiva / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycins / administration & dosage
  • Mitomycins / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pterygium / drug therapy
  • Pterygium / surgery
  • Pterygium / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Mitomycins