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Shehnaz Bazeer, Laura Wolpert, Christopher J Hammond, Jelle Vehof; The relationship between occupation and dry eye disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):1964.
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Environmental factors, such as computer use and low humidity, have been shown to play an important aetiological role in dry eye disease. However, to date, there have not been any studies investigating the relationship between type of occupation and dry eye symptoms.
79,606 participants from the population-based Lifelines cohort in the Netherlands were assessed for type of occupation and working hours by a questionnaire, and for dry eye symptoms using the Women's Health Study (WHS) dry eye questionnaire. The ISCO-08 (International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008) system was used for coding occupations. Frequency of dryness and irritation symptoms were both scored; 0 (never), 1 (sometimes), 2 (often), or 3 (constantly). A total score of 2 or higher was assigned as symptomatic dry eye. Logistic regression, adjusted for age and sex, was used to investigate the association between type of occupation and symptomatic dry eye.
40,501 employed people working at least 8 hours a week were included (mean age=46.4 (s.d.=9.6), 60% female). Of the 10 major occupation groups, the professionals (OR 1.14, P=3x10-7), technicians and associate professionals (OR 1.07, P=0.01) and clerical support workers (OR 1.14, P=8x10-5) were associated with higher risk of DED. Service and sales workers (OR 0.88, P=3x10-6), skilled agricultural workers (OR 0.57, P=2x10-11), plant and machine operators and assemblers (OR=0.80, P=0.001) and elementary occupations (OR 0.77, P=5x10-7) were associated with lower risk of dry eye. In particular, occupations that were highly associated with dry eye were legal professionals, administrative professionals and customer service clerks. Occupations that were least associated with dry eye were animal producers, market gardeners, shop salespersons and cleaners.
This is the first study looking at the relationship between types of occupation and dry eye. We found evidence that jobs with high visual display use, are associated with increased risk of DED, while outdoor occupations were generally associated with lower risk. The lower risk of DED in e.g. cleaners and shop salespersons is interesting and needs further investigation. The association of DED with particular occupations has implications for the public health sector, but also for clinical practice.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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