Year : 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-18

Dry eye syndrome: A rising occupational hazard in tropical countries

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Padmshree Dr D Y Patil Medical College, Pimpri, Pune, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, SBKS Medical Institute and Research Center, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Kavita R Bhatnagar
B 4/21, Brahma Aangan, Off Salunke Road, Kondhwa, Pune - 411 048
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-2870.122755

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Aim : The aim of this study was to find out the prevalence of dry eye and evaluate personal and environmental risk factors attributable to dry eye in a hospital-based population. Materials and Methods : In this cross-sectional study, 1890 patients above 15 years of age were screened randomly for dry eye. McMonnies Dry Eye Questionnaire, Schirmer's test, tear film breakup time (TBUT), presence of conjunctival injection, punctate epithelial erosions (PEE), and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) were used to diagnose dry eye. Patient demographics including age, sex, smoking, and occupation and working environment were also recorded. Correlation of dry eye signs with symptoms and TFBUT and Schirmer's tests was also assessed. Results : The prevalence of dry eye was 10.58%. The prevalence was higher in outdoor workers (17.77%). The male: female ratio was 2.33:1. The number of males was highest in the 56-60 (13%) and 60-65 (14%) years age groups while that of females was highest in the 46-50 (16.67%) years age group. A total of 10% of the patients were smokers, while 8% were tobacco chewers. A 2.15-fold increase was found in the odds for dry eye in those exposed to excessive wind, 1.91-fold to sunlight exposure, and 2.04 for air pollution. Abnormally low TBUT and Schirmer's tests were significantly associated with dry eye signs (P=0.009 and 0.014, respectively). Conclusion : Dry eye is a leading cause of ocular discomfort in OPD patients. Excessive exposure to wind, sunlight, high temperature, and air pollution was significantly related to dry eyes. There was a significant correlation between patient's history, symptoms, dry eye signs and objective tests for tear film. The rural people and those with outdoor occupation are more exposed to extraneous influences of environmental factors in tropical climate. These factors affect the tear film and ocular surface causing the dry eye syndrome.

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