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sneh patel, Anat Galor, Naresh Kumar; The Effects of Temperature Change on Allergic Conjunctivitis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(7):2944.
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Studies have implicated meteorological conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, and wind speed) in the pathogenesis of allergic conjunctivitis (AC), as these conditions can facilitate tear film instability and allergen dispersal. Research has also suggested links between weather change and allergic diseases like asthma, but this association remains unclear for AC. This retrospective study aimed to examine the relationship between weather variation and AC, testing our hypothesis that sudden temperature change is a risk factor for AC.
Data on AC visits at all US Veterans Affairs clinics between Jan 2010-Dec 2013 were obtained. Climate data (hourly temperature and humidity) from the National Climactic Data Center were estimated by zip code. We used a case-crossover design, in which all cases also served as their own controls on a randomly selected day (90 to 270) prior to diagnosis. Daily lagged exposure to weather was computed for 30 days prior to diagnosis and compared to 30 days prior to the chosen control day. The effect of temperature change on AC was examined for the nation and across regions via multivariate logistic regression.
In total, 74,951 patients (87% male, 50% >64 years old, 69% white) made 116,162 visits for AC. Incidence was highest in spring (>10% Apr-May) in the Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE) (>15%) and lowest in winter (<6.1% Dec-Feb) in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) (<5%). Multivariate analyses indicated that exposure to hourly temperature change (i.e. standard deviation (SD) of temperature) elevated the risk for AC on all 30 days prior to presentation. The highest risk for AC was observed 1 day prior to diagnosis, during which SD of temperature elevated the risk for AC by 2.7% (OR 1.027, 95% CI 1.02-1.03, p ≤ 0.001). Humidity and absolute temperature-humidity interaction also increased the risk for AC on all 30 days, while temperature alone was associated with AC risk between 30 days and 4 days prior to diagnosis. Region-specific analyses showed that the effect of temperature change on AC was nonuniform - the Lower Midwest (LMW) and NE demonstrated the strongest relationships, while AC weakly associated with temperature change in the PNW.
In support of our hypothesis, sudden temperature change was a risk factor for AC, and concurrent decline in humidity compounded this effect. This relationship was variable across regions, perhaps attributable to differences in climate adaptation.
This is a 2020 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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