Prevalence and risk factors of pterygium in a southwestern island of Japan: the Kumejima Study

Am J Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov;148(5):766-771.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Aug 6.


Purpose: To determine the prevalence and risk factors for pterygium in a Japanese population aged 40 years or older on Kumejima Island, Japan.

Design: Cross-sectional, population-based study.

Methods: All residents of Kumejima Island, Japan, located in Southwestern Japan (Eastern longitude 126 degrees, 48 feet and Northern latitude 26 degrees, 20 feet), aged 40 years and older were asked to undergo a comprehensive questionnaire and ocular examination.

Results: Of the 4,632 residents, 3,762 (81.2%) underwent the examination. The presence of pterygium could not be determined in 15 subjects. Of the 3,747 eligible subjects, 1,154 (30.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 29.3% to 32.3%) had pterygium in at least 1 eye and 491 subjects (13.1%; 95% CI, 12.1% to 14.3%) had pterygium in both eyes. In the logistic regression analysis, older age (P < .001), male gender (P = .024), hyperopic refraction (P = .001), lower intraocular pressure (P = .002), and outdoor job experience (P < .001) were independently associated with a higher risk of pterygium.

Conclusion: The prevalence of pterygium is 30.8% among adult Japanese aged 40 years and older in Kumejima. Older age, male gender, hyperopic refraction, lower intraocular pressure, and outdoor job history were independently associated with a higher risk of pterygium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pterygium / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires