Air pollution linked to dry eye syndrome in study - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Air pollution linked to dry eye syndrome in study

Updated: Nov 19, 2013 02:51 PM
© Digital Vision / Thinkstock © Digital Vision / Thinkstock
  • What's Going AroundMore>>

  • What's Going Around - April 16th

    What's Going Around - April 16th

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:16 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:16:33 GMT
    Sinus infections are going around this week. Nurse Practitioner Christy Johnson from Bay Medical-Sacred Heart Family Medicine says, "A sinus infection is inflammation or swelling of your sinuses. WhenMore >>
    A sinus infection can make a person feel miserable. More >>
  • Jessica Foster

    Jessica Foster

    Jessica Foster is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and has worked at WMBB since 2004. She is excited to bring the news to you each weekday on News13 This Morning. Jessica produces 3 medical segments weekly- What's Going Around, Modern Medicine and Mayo Clinic reports.More >>

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Residents of American cities with high levels of air pollution are much more likely to develop dry eye syndrome than people who live in cities with cleaner air, a new study shows.

People living in and around cities such as Chicago and New York City were three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome than those in urban areas with lower levels of air pollution.

Dry eye syndrome -- a deficiency in tear production -- can severely hamper someone's quality of life and productivity. The condition affects up to 4 million Americans aged 50 and older. Its symptoms include excessive tearing, discomfort wearing contact lenses, and stinging and burning in the eyes.

In this new study, researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 600,000 U.S. veterans who were treated for dry eye syndrome in nearly 400 VA eye clinics between July 2006 and July 2011. The records were compared to air-pollution data collected during the same time.

While the study wasn't designed to prove cause-and-effect, the researchers said most major cities had high levels of air pollution and high rates of dry eye syndrome -- 17 percent to 21 percent. Those cities included Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City.

The researchers also found that the risk of dry eye syndrome was 13 percent higher in cities at high altitudes.

The findings suggest that doctors need to be aware of the link between environmental conditions and dry eye, the researchers said. They recommended that doctors get an environmental history when assessing patients with the condition.

"Undoubtedly, many people living in arid and polluted cities would readily attest to the irritating effect air pollution has on dry eye," study author Dr. Anat Galor, an assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, said in a news release from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

"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," Galor said.

The study was presented Saturday at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting in New Orleans. Data and conclusions presented at meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dry eye syndrome.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.