A study found the risk of dry eye syndrome is increased in residents of major cities with high levels of air pollution, according to a press release from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Diagnosis of dry eye syndrome was three to four times more likely in those residing in or near Chicago and New York City compared with areas with minimal air pollution.
Researchers used data from the National Veterans Administration database, the National Climatic Data Center and NASA and examined health records of 606,708 U.S. veterans who underwent treatment for dry eye syndrome from July 2006 to July 2011. Residents of areas with high levels of pollution had a 1.4 incidence rate ratio of dry eye syndrome.
Most metropolitan areas, including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, had high levels of air pollution and a 17% to 21% prevalence of dry eye syndrome.
In addition, areas of high altitude had a 13% higher chance of dry eye syndrome, whereas areas with high humidity and wind speed were not associated with dry eye syndrome.
“Our research suggests that simple actions, such as maintaining the appropriate humidity indoors and using a high-quality air filter, should be considered as part of the overall management of patients suffering from dry eye syndrome,” lead researcher Anat Galor, MD, MSPH, of Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, said in the release.