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Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei). 1999 Aug;62(8):496-502.

Relationship between pterygium/pinguecula and sunlight exposure among postmen in central Taiwan.

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Department of Family Medicine, Chung Shan Medical and Dental College, Taiwan, ROC.



The purpose of this study was to investigate outdoor hazards and their relationship to conjunctival disorders experienced by postmen.


Three hundred and ninety-four employees (248 postmen and 146 officers) working in 11 post offices in central Taiwan were recruited and participated in the 1994 annual labor health examination. Pinguecula and pterygium were diagnosed by an ophthalmologist. Meanwhile, detailed personal and occupational information was obtained using a structured questionnaire. The cumulative occupational sunlight exposure was calculated for each postman by considering the duration of their employment as postmen, the average working hours per day and their spectacle use (sunglasses and eyeglasses). A logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between cumulative occupational sunlight exposure and pinguecula.


Among the postmen, the prevalences of pinguecula and pterygium were 62.9% and 7.3%, respectively. The outdoor nature of postal work was significantly associated with the occurrence of pinguecula as well as pterygium (p < 0.05). When the cumulative occupational sunlight exposure increased by one unit (one year x hour/day), the risks of developing pinguecula and pterygium were raised by 2.1% and 0.8%, respectively.


The results indicate that conjunctival disorders were associated with the cumulative occupational sunlight exposure of postmen working outdoors. This study reinforces the importance of ocular protection from sunlight.

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