The aim of this study is to report general and age-specific risk factors for pterygium prevalence in the Korean population.
This in an observational case series study.
Data from total 24,812 participants (age 40 years or older) from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted from 2010 to 2012 were retrieved. After applying exclusion criteria, data from 13,204 participants (821 with pterygium and 12,383 without) were used for univariate and multivariate analyses. General risk factors were identified and participants were grouped by decade: 40 s, 50 s, 60 s, 70 s, and 80+. Age-specific risk factors were investigated for each group.
After univariate analysis, 2 multiple regression models were constructed. Model 1: age + sex + spherical equivalent (SE) + sun exposure hours + occupation (indoor vs outdoor) + residency area (rural vs urban) + education level; model 2: age + sex + SE + sun exposure hours. In model 1, older age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.05 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05–1.06), male gender (OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.01–1.61), and longer sun exposure hours (OR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.11–1.94) were significant risk factors for pterygium prevalence whereas higher level of education (elementary school vs college, OR: 3.98, 95% CI: 2.24–7.06) and urban residency (vs rural residency, OR: 0.56, 95% CI: 0.45–0.70) were protective factors. Higher SE (OR 1.11, 95% CI: 1.03–1.19) refractive error was considered a risk factor when using model 2 for the analysis. Age-specific risk factors were different in each age group. Male gender was associated with higher pterygium prevalence in younger age groups while longer sun exposure (5+ hours/day) increased pterygium prevalence in older age groups.
Previously characterized risk factors were also found in this large population study. However, we found that risk factors may vary according to the age group. Myopic eyes were found to have lower prevalence than hyperopic eyes.