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Leandro Correa, Julio A Urrets-Zavalia, Maria Fernanda Fernanda Suarez, Rodolfo Monti, Evangelina Espósito, Eugenia González-Castellanos, Horacio Marcelo Serra; Environmental proteinaceous corneal degeneration: prevalence in different regions of Argentina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5460.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Environmental proteinaceous corneal degeneration (EPCD), also known as climatic droplet keratopathy, is an acquired degenerative and potentially handicapping human corneal disease. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of EPCD in 4 different regions of Argentina.
A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted involving individuals living in Santa Catalina (Region 1, n=152); Quebrachos (Region 2, n=154), El Cuy (Region 3, n=102) and General Roca (Region 4, n=113) departments, who read the summary of the project and signed informed consent. All participants received a complete eye examination and were inquired about work activity, diet and use of eye protection. Levels of ascorbic acid (AA) in individuals’ serum, the density of ozone (O3) and values of UVB levels were studied. Student t-test, ANOVA and Pearson tests were used to compare values. The statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
Individuals with EPCD were only found in region 3 (20% prevalence). The dietary habits were similar in all studied regions, but for region 4. The primary activity was cattle breeding excepting for region 4, which was predominantly fruit production. No eye protection was worn in region 3, where the prevalence of the disease is 20%. Low serum AA levels were found in individuals from regions 1 and 3 (0.27 mg/dl ± 0.133 and 0.21 mg/dl ± 0.091, respectively) associated with a low fruit and vegetables consumption (p <0.0001) than those found in region 4 (0.719 mg/dl ± 0.446) where the consumption of fruits and vegetables was higher. All O3 values obtained were within the normal range. The UVB values were inversely correlated with the levels of O3 (r = -0.87), and the lowest levels were found in region 3.
A high prevalence of EPCD was found in region 3 where most of the studied individuals spent several hours working outdoor with any eye protection. Despite being exposed to normal levels of UVB these individuals had a partial deficiency of AA that can explain this higher prevalence. Moreover, EPCD was not found in regions 1 and 2, which have similar environmental characteristics to region 3, excepting for the habit of wearing eye protection while working outdoors. There were no cases of EPCD in region 4 where individuals had a balanced diet without AA deficiency and they wore eye protection.
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