The prevalence of corneal disease and cataracts in Australian aborigines in Northwestern Australia

Aust J Ophthalmol. 1980 Nov;8(4):289-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.1980.tb00285.x.


Fifty percent of the Aborigines over the age of 30, in two settlements, were examined and the presence of anterior ocular disease was recorded. A group of urban Europeans were also examined. All of the 82 Aborigines showed signs of trachoma, eight were bilaterally blind and 15 had monocular blindness. Corneal opacities were found in 60% of Aborigines, pterygium in 44%, cataract in 32%, climatic droplet keratopathy in 18% and pseudo-exfoliation of the lens in 11%. Only 4% of Europeans had corneal scarring and 4% had pterygium, 10% of Europeans had cataracts. Trachaoma, climatic droplet keratopathy and pseudoexfoliation were not seen in Europeans. It is postulated that much of the anterior segment disease seen in Australian Aborigines is due to environmental factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Corneal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Corneal Opacity / epidemiology
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Pterygium / epidemiology
  • Trachoma / epidemiology
  • White People