April 2009
Volume 50, Issue 13
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2009
Clinical and Histological Ocular Surface Alterations in Workers Involved in Sugar Cane Burning
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • P. Novaes
    Ophthalmology, Laboratory of Investigation in Ophthalmology,
    University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • M. Matsuda
    Ophthalmology, Laboratory of Investigation in Ophthalmology,
    Pathology, Laboratory of Experimental Air Pollution,
    University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • A. Berra
    Pathology, Laboratory of Ocular Investigation, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • U. P. Santos
    Pneumology, INCOR, São Paulo, Brazil
  • M. Peres Rangel
    Ophthalmology, Laboratory of Investigation in Ophthalmology,
    University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • R. Santo
    Ophthalmology, Laboratory of Investigation in Ophthalmology,
    University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • N. Kara-Jose
    Ophthalmology, Laboratory of Investigation in Ophthalmology,
    University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • P. H. N. Saldiva
    Pathology, Laboratory of Experimental Air Pollution,
    University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  P. Novaes, None; M. Matsuda, None; A. Berra, None; U.P. Santos, None; M. Peres Rangel, None; R. Santo, None; N. Kara-Jose, None; P.H.N. Saldiva, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2009, Vol.50, 2605. doi:
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      P. Novaes, M. Matsuda, A. Berra, U. P. Santos, M. Peres Rangel, R. Santo, N. Kara-Jose, P. H. N. Saldiva; Clinical and Histological Ocular Surface Alterations in Workers Involved in Sugar Cane Burning. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2605.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose: : Investigate the impact of sugar cane burning on the ocular surface of cane workers and compare clinical and histological parameters during the burning and the non-burning periods.

Methods: : Thirty healthy sugar cane workers were recruited from the rural city of Cerquilho, located in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Measurements of the daily average concentrations of particulate matter 2.5 were done during the burning and the non-burning periods. Schirmer's I test, biomicroscopy, tear film break-up time (TBUT), eye irritation symptoms, fluorescein and rose bengal staining, and impression cytology of the inferior tarsal conjunctiva (PAS positive areas) were evaluated during the two periods. The subject’s PAS positive areas were classified into three categories according to the total years of labor in sugarcane harvesting.

Results: : PM2.5 exposure levels during sugarcane harvesting were 3.5-fold higher than the established limit of 25µg/m3 (WHO 2006). Mean TBUT values were lower in the burning period (mean 6.48s; SD 3.47) than in the non-burning period (mean 10.16s; SD 7.79; p=0.05). There was a decrease in PAS positive areas during the burning period (p=0.014). A non-linear regression model reveals a strong relationship between PAS positive areas and years working in sugar cane harvesting (Figure 1; r=0.99, p=0.015). Concerning the other clinical tests, there was no difference between periods .

Conclusions: : These findings indicate there is an increase in mucus production and goblet cell hyperplasia, as an adaptive response to chronic occupational exposure to air pollution. However, the decrease in PAS positive areas during exposure to acute episodes of higher concentrations of air pollution generated by sugar cane burning suggest a toxic effect on the ocular surface. A tendency towards greater tear film instability was also detected during the burning period.

Keywords: conjunctiva • cornea: tears/tear film/dry eye • inflammation 
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