Background: To determine the prevalence of pterygium within the indigenous Australian population living in central Australia. Design: Clinic-based cross-sectional study. Participants: A total of 1884 individuals living in one of 30 remote communities within the statistical local area of 'Central Australia'. This equated to 36% of those aged ≥20years and 67% of those aged ≥40years within this district. Methods: Participants aged 20years or over were recruited as they presented to the eye clinic at each remote community. Slit-lamp examination was performed, and the presence of a pterygium or evidence of previous pterygium surgery was recorded. Main Outcome Measures: The prevalence of a pterygium in one or both eyes is presented. Results: Pterygium was present in one or both eyes of 9.3% of individuals aged 40years or older. Right and left eyes were affected equally (χ 2=0.19; P=0.91). There was a significant association between the presence of a pterygium and age (t=3.99; P<0.0001). There was no association with gender (χ 2=1.06; P=0.30). Conclusion: Pterygium was present in a significantly higher proportion of indigenous Australians compared with non-indigenous Australians. This is similar to previous findings of the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program and may be due to a difference in proportion of hours spent outdoors and consequent exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
- Indigenous Australians