Over 8 out of 10 patients suffer from dry eyes also due to environmental pollution and excessive use of technological devices. Among the many triggering causes - such as aging, hormonal alterations, systemic diseases, smoking, alcohol, air pollutants play an important role, which can activate pro-inflammatory signals and influence the composition of the tear film.
Pollution often exceeds the maximum allowed threshold especially in large inhabited centers. Lifestyle can alter the tear function, such as staying for a long time in rooms with air conditioning or using a computer, tablet or mobile phone for many hours: in front of these technological devices we tend to blink less frequently, reducing production of tear fluid.
The Impact of Air Pollution and Weather on Dry Ey study, published in the Journal of clinical medicine, explains the relationship between air pollution and dry eyes. In the study we can read that air pollution has broad effects on human health involving many organ systems.
Air Pollution impact on Dry Eye
The ocular surface is an excellent model with which to study the effects of air pollution on human health as it is in constant contact with the environment, and it is directly accessible, facilitating disease monitoring.
Effects of air pollutants on the ocular surface typically manifest as dry eye (DE) symptoms and signs. In this review, we break down air pollution into particulate matter (organic and inorganic) and gaseous compounds and summarize the literature regarding effects of various exposures on DE.
Additionally, we examine the effects of weather (relative humidity, temperature) on DE symptoms and signs. To do so, we conducted a PubMed search using key terms to summarize the existing literature on the effects of air pollution and weather on DE.
While we tried to focus on the effect of specific exposures on specific aspects of DE, environmental conditions are often studied concomitantly, and thus, there are unavoidable interactions between our variables of interest.
Overall, we found that air pollution and weather conditions have differential adverse effects on DE symptoms and signs. We discuss these findings and potential mitigation strategies, such as air purifiers, air humidifiers, and plants, that may be instituted as treatments at an individual level to address environmental contributors to DE.