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March 26, 1982

Ultraviolet Radiation and Pterygium

Author Affiliations

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore

JAMA. 1982;247(12):1698. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320370016017

To the Editor.—  Joseph F. Novak, MD, has concluded that work-related ultraviolet radiation exposure is unlikely to be a direct cause of recurrent pterygium in a welder (1981;246:1019). His observation that pterygia do not occur more frequently in welders than in other groups is compatible with the findings of Emmett et al.1 Those authors found no increase in the prevalence of pterygium in welders who had worked for at least ten years, compared with either other workers incidentally exposed to welding or a control group that had never worked near welders. Welders are normally shielded from radiation, although concern has been expressed about the adequacy of this protection, and recently, alternative types of shields have been suggested.2However, Dr Novak's statement that "Ultraviolet radiation has not been reported as a cause or inciting factor for pterygium" requires correction. It is more than 15 years since Cameron1 pointed out