Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1991  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15--16

Pterygium and dry eye-A clinical correlation

Rajiv, Sandeep Mithal, AK Sood 
 Department of Ophthalmology, L.L.R.M. Medical College, Meerut, India

Correspondence Address:
Department of Ophthalmology, L.L.R.M. Medical College, Meerut-250 004


Schirmer«SQ»s test and tear film break-up time (BUT) were studied in 56 eyes of patients with pterygium and compared with 50 eyes of normal healthy subjects representing the same age, sex and geographical distribution. Both the values were found to be significantly reduced in cases of pterygium indicating the inadequacy of tear film in these patients.

How to cite this article:
Rajiv, Mithal S, Sood A K. Pterygium and dry eye-A clinical correlation.Indian J Ophthalmol 1991;39:15-16

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Rajiv, Mithal S, Sood A K. Pterygium and dry eye-A clinical correlation. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1991 [cited 2019 Nov 22 ];39:15-16
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Pterygium is now no more thought of as a cancerous growth but rather a protective mechanism. [1] It grows on to the cornea because of a chronic dellen initiated by tear film inadequacy. This study was therefore under­taken to study the dry nature of the eyes having pterygium. The patients with pterygium were therefore compared with normals to evaluate their status regard­ing dryness of eyes.


56 eyes of patients in the age group 14 years to 76 years were selected for the study. 36 eyes were of males while 20 were of females. 50 eyes of normal patients (25 male and 25 female) were chosen from among the patients attending the ophthalmology out patient for refraction purposes. These patients were between 14 years to 70 years of age and belonged to the same geographical areas as the pterygium patients.

All the patients were examined to rule out any other extra-ocular disease affecting the lacrimal system. Schirmer's test was done in all cases using Whartman 40 filter paper and wetting of the filter paper was noted.

A slightly moistened fluorescein strip was applied to the inferior temporal bulbar conjunctiva and the patient was asked to blink several times in order to distribute the fluorescein evenly. Using the cobalt blue filter on the slit lamp with a broad beam, the tear film was scanned while the patient was asked to stare directly ahead without blinking. The appearance of the first dry spot was noted using a stop watch. Break up time was measured three times in succession for each eye and the mean was taken.


Most of the cases of pterygium were found in the age group 30-40 years and it was more commonly seen in males (64.29%) as compared to females (35.71%). However, it was found even in very young persons, though rare,. In our observations, the youngest patient was, 14 years of age and the eldest 71 years. [Table 1]. In the present study it was found that the mean tear film BUT was 10.4 secs in normal healthy eyes with a range from 8.7 secs to 16.2 secs. However in eyes with pterygium this value was markedly reduced to 5.6 secs.

We also studied the Schirmer's test and found that mean wetting of the filter paper was 12.6 mm (range 11 mm to 16 mm) and 5.2 mm (range 3 mm to 9.4 mm) respec­tively in normal healthy eyes and the eyes of patients with pterygium.


Tear film break up time is supposed to be an excellent diagnostic technique in detecting mucin deficient dry eye [2]sub . Sukul et a1 [3] found the mean value of tear film BUT to be 9.67 secs in Indian subjects. Low humidity, high atmospheric temperature, trachomatous infection and prolonged use of contact lenses have been found to. be responsible for low tear film BUT (Chopra et al ) [4].

In this study when normal subjects were compared with patients having pterygium, it was found that both Schirmer's test and tear film BUT were markedly reduced in the latter. In fact this inadequacy of tear film is responsible for the initiation of a dellen formation which later on leads to pterygium.


1Paton. David, selected Transaction of VI National symposium on Cornea, Ahmedabad Academy of Ophthalmology, 181-183,1984.
2Lemp M.A. and Hamill J.R., 1973, Arch. Ophthalmol, 89-103.
3Sukul R.R., Shukla M. and Nagpal G., 1983. Ind. J. Ophthalmol, 31-335.
44. Chopra S.K.. Saramma G., and Denial R.. 1985. Ind. J. Ophthal., 33:213.