One of my most common surgeries is removal of a pterygium. You might ask, “what is a pterygium?” A pterygium is a growth on the surface of the eyeball. It is really like an overgrowth of existing tissue (but there is obviously an alteration of the normal tissue which relates to its overgrowth). The name “pterygium” derives from the Greek “pterygos,” which means wing. When these “wings” on the eye get too big, they can start to affect vision, which is usually around the time that I want to remove them. I don’t really like to wait until the wing grows too big and grows across the pupil (at which point it would REALLY affect the vision), because even though it can be removed at that time, there is often residual scarring that can permanently worsen vision.