Prevalence of Pterygium in a rural community of Meskan District, Southern Ethiopia


  • Alemwork Meseret
  • Abebe Bejiga
  • Menen Ayalew


Abstract Background: Pterygium is principally prevalent in tropical Africa. Though Ethiopia is located in the tropics, the prevalence of pterygium has not been well studied previously. Aim: To determine the prevalence of pterygium among people older than 20 years and its association with age, sex, smoking and exposure to ultraviolet light (UVL) in Meskan District of Gurage zone, Southern Ethiopia. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from March 15 to May 15, 2006. Two peasant associations (PA) were randomly selected from the total of 42 in the district. Based on the sampling fraction, every third household in the selected peasant associations was included in the study. All individuals above 20 years of age in the selected households were interviewed and examined for the presence of pterygium. Measurements of pterygium were made with ruler. Visual acuity was taken for those individuals with pterygium and checked with pinhole if found to be less than 6/18. Results: A total of 922 individuals, 400 (43.4%) males and 522 (56.6%) females, were involved in the study. The mean age was 38.2 ranging from 21-95 years. Pterygium was found in 81 (8.8%, 95% CI: 7.0,10.6) of the study subjects. For those individuals whose age was above 40 years, the prevalence was found to be 17.4% indicating an increased risk with age (p<0.001). It also occurred among 50 (12.5%) males and 31 (5.9%) females and the difference was statistically significant (p<0.001). Males have about twice the risk of developing pterygium compared to females. Conclusion: The prevalence of pterygium obtained (8.8%) from this study was relatively low compared to many other reports from tropical areas. However, in agreement with other reports, advancing age and males have been identified as risk factors for the development of pterygium. Pterygium was associated with visual impairment in 13.1% of cases. [Ethiop.J.Health Dev. 2008;22(2):191-194]




How to Cite

Meseret, A., Bejiga, A., & Ayalew, M. (2016). Prevalence of Pterygium in a rural community of Meskan District, Southern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 22(2). Retrieved from

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