The incidence and prevalence of pterygium in South Korea: A 10-year population-based Korean cohort study

Tyler Hyungtaek Rim, Min Jae Kang, Moonjung Choi, Kyoung Yul Seo, Sung Soo Kim

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Although numerous population-based studies have reported the prevalences and risk factors for pterygium, information regarding the incidence of pterygium is scarce. This population- based cohort study aimed to evaluate the South Korean incidence and prevalence of pterygium. We retrospectively obtained data from a nationally representative sample of 1,116,364 South Koreans in the Korea National Health Insurance Service National Sample Cohort (NHIS-NSC). The associated sociodemographic factors were evaluated using multivariable Cox regression analysis, and the hazard ratios and confidence intervals were calculated. Pterygium was defined based on the Korean Classification of Diseases code, and surgically removed pterygium was defined as cases that required surgical removal. We identified 21,465 pterygium cases and 8,338 surgically removed pterygium cases during the study period. The overall incidences were 2.1 per 1,000 person-years for pterygium and 0.8 per 1,000 person-years for surgically removed pterygium. Among subjects who were -40 years old, the incidences were 4.3 per 1,000 person-years for pterygium and 1.7 per 1,000 person-years for surgically removed pterygium. The overall prevalences were 1.9% for pterygium and 0.6% for surgically removed pterygium, and the prevalences increased to 3.8% for pterygium and 1.4% for surgically removed pterygium among subjects who were -40 years old. The incidences of pterygium decreased according to year. The incidence and prevalence of pterygium were highest among 60±79-year-old individuals. Increasing age,female sex, and living in a relatively rural area were associated with increased risks of pterygium and surgically removed pterygium in the multivariable Cox regression analysis. Our analyses of South Korean national insurance claims data revealed a decreasing trend in the incidence of pterygium during the study period.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0171954
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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