Ophthalmic findings among one thousand inhabitants of Rarotonga, Cook Islands

W. J. Heriot, G. W. Crock, R. Taylor, P. Zimmet

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A survey of 986 Polynesians was conducted in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, for the complications of diabetes. The ophthalmologists in the team made a general assessment of eye health. Trauma was a major cause of blindness. Diabetic retinopathy, trachoma, cataract and macular degeneration were not common findings. The initial criteria of nuclear cataract were pigmentation or opacification with loss of fetal suture detail. This was invalidated by the finding in young adults of enhanced pigmentation without any visual handicap. This finding supports current concepts of cataractogenesis. Pigmentation may augment the intrinsic filter of near ultraviolet light. Of the 118 people with chorioretinal scars, 25 shared features with cases reported from the Pacific region attributed to filariasis. The majority, however, were typical of toxoplasmosis. Cases of pseudoexfoliation were rare. This is surprising in view of the high prevalence reported among Australian Aborigines at a comparable latitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Opthalmology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • >diabetes
  • chorioretinitis
  • filariasis.
  • nuclear cataract
  • ocular survey
  • psuedoexfoliation

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