Employees with jobs that require high visual use are at greater risk for developing dry eye disease (DED), while those with outdoor occupations are at lower risk, according to a new study.1

British researchers examined environmental factors, such as computer use occupations and DED.

This study from ARVO, the first to look into the relationships between types of employment and DED, included 79,606 participants who filled out questionnaires on their occupation, working hours and DED symptoms, the later of which were scored for frequency and level of dryness.1 Of the 10 major occupational groups included in the study, professionals, technicians, associate professionals and clerical support workers had a higher risk of DED. Service and sales workers, along with skilled employees in agricultural jobs, plant and machine operators, assemblers and elementary occupations, were associated with lower risk of developing DED. Occupations least associated with dry eye were animal producers, market gardeners, shop salespeople and cleaners.

“The bottom line is that you should ask patients what they do for a living,” says Joseph P. Shovlin of Scranton, PA. “Once you get an idea of the patient’s lifestyle, you can focus on coming up with strategies to reduce their symptoms and possibly minimize long-term changes that can come back to haunt them.”

According to the study, “the lower risk of DED in (e.g.) cleaners and shop salespersons is interesting and needs further investigation.”1

1. Bazeer S, Wolpert L, Hammond CJ, et al. The relationship between occupation and dry eye disease. ARVO 2018. Abstract 1964.