A retrospective examination was conducted on 104 patients who had undergone operations for a pterygium over a time period of 2-73 months. Thirty-one patients were operated on with a free autologous conjunctival transplant; in 40 cases a conjunctival suture was performed and in 33 cases the bare sclera technique was used. The pterygium and any recurrences were scored clinically from 0 to 4. Small recurrences with a score less than 3 and a small conjunctival corpus were called "calm" recurrences. A bigger corpus and a head with a score > or = 3 and parallel vessels were called "active" recurrences. The recurrence rates were taken as the total calm and active recurrences. Autologous conjunctival transplant had a recurrence rate of 32.3%, excision with conjunctival suture 58.5%, and the bare sclera technique had a recurrence rate of 66.7%. Excision techniques cause high rates of recurrences, severe conjunctival scarification and irritation for a long time. A free autologous conjunctival transplant from the same or other eye to the place of excision improves the rate of recurrences even when the condition is more severe initially. Even though more complicated operation methods decrease the rate of recurrence, but 20-35% recurrence rates are still not satisfactory.