Introduction: India is a developing country & the garment workers in these industries are exposed to various occupational health problems, leading to sickness absenteeism and compromise in quality of life, & the eye disorders were reported by 11.2% of workers. The prevalence of pterygium in India varies from 9-12% in general population. This study aims at determining the proportion of garment factory workers suffering from pinguecula and/or pterygium and their associated risk factors.
Methods: It was a cross-sectional study. All the garment factory workers presenting to the ophthalmology department for routine eye examination were screened for pinguecula and pterygium. Standard protocol was followed to measure vision using Snellenâ€™s chart. Data was analysed for percentage and proportions after obtaining approval from Institutional Ethics Committee.
Results: A total of 848 subjects were screened out of which 102 (12.03 %) were found to have pinguecula or pterygium. Of these 91% were females and 9% were males & the mean age of the affected was 39 years. Pinguecula was present in 84 subjects (82%) & pterygium was present in 18 (17.7%) subjects. The nature of work in majority of the subjects (n=79, 77.5%) was tailoring. Sickness absenteeism was more profound in pterygium group (28%). Personnelâ€™s with greater than twelve years of work experience had suffered by pinguecula (44%) and pterygium (39%).
Conclusion: In our study 1 in 8 workers suffered from pinguecula or pterygium. The affected belonged to middle age (39 years) and had significant work experience (above 12 years). Thus pterygium and pinguecula may be considered as major occupational health problems among the garment factory workers. Immediate policy decisions like screening and providing better working conditions for the workers is the need of the hour for the garment industries.
Garment workers, India, Pinguecula, Pterygium.