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Logo of mjafiGuide for AuthorsAbout this journalExplore this journalMedical Journal, Armed Forces India
Med J Armed Forces India. 2004 July; 60(3): 318.
Published online 2011 July 21. doi:  10.1016/S0377-1237(04)80091-1
PMCID: PMC4923216

Increase in Incidence of Pterygium in High Altitude Areas

Dear Editor,

Incidence of pterygium is high in the sunny, hot, dusty, dry region of the world near the equator, where there is direct exposure to sunlight. High incidence of pterygium has also been found in the arctic region. Routine medical examination reveals increase in incidence of pterygium in our unit serving in a high altitude location. Ultraviolet (UV) light is the main aetiological factor in causation of pterygium. It is proposed that UV rays alter the deoxyribonucleic acid in fibroblasts, which then multiply and invade the cornea. In high altitude region people are exposed to ultra violet light reflected from the snow clad mountains. Here, pterygium is usually seen among those who are posted for more than one and half years duration. Prevalence of pterygium is also high among the civilian population of this region. Cases seen are mostly over 35 years of age and with no ocular diseases in the past. The affected people did not use UV protective goggles regularly. Pterygium cases seen are usually found to be thick, vascular and bilateral. Usual complaint is of a foreign body sensation with occasional irritation in the affected eye. Visual impairment was not found in any of the cases seen so far. Eye drop dexamethasone sodium phosphate 0.1% and hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose 2% are found to give symptomatic relief. Advanced stage of pterygium requires surgical intervention.

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