January 23, 2013
1 min read

Modifiable risk factors may be key to reducing pterygium rate in India

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HYDERABAD, India — Focusing on modifiable risk factors, namely ultraviolet light exposure, may help health care providers reduce the incidence of pterygium in India, according to a corneal specialist.

Pterygium is a common condition in India, and there is concern that it may be on the increase due to global warming and ozone layer depletion, Radhika Tandon, MD, said at the joint meeting of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and All India Ophthalmological Society.

Radhika Tandon, MD

Radhika Tandon

“Acute and cumulative UV exposure is an important causative factor,” Tandon said.

Methods for screening eyes at risk for pterygium include an ultraviolet (UV) lamp used for dermatological diseases that can reveal changes in conjunctival autofluorescence that are precursors of ophthalmohelioses. And UV fundus photography provides a sensitive means to document preclinical signs of UV-mediated ocular damage.

A multicenter population study based at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi will investigate the effects of environmental factors on the presence or exacerbation of pterygium in India. It will cover approximately 14,000 rural villages, screening a total of 3,500 individuals who are at least 40 years old with flashlight and UV fluorescent photography.

“Fluorescence is a sign of abnormal cross-linking and squamous metaplasia induced by UV light. This method of screening enables detection of early signs of pterygium also in apparently normal eyes,” Tandon said.

The study may raise awareness of the need to adopt adequate protective measures and behaviors to decrease morbidity related to ophthalmohelioses.

Disclosure: Tandon has no relevant financial disclosures.