Higher Ozone, Lower Humidity Linked to Dry Eye Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dong Hyun Kim, M.D.
Clinical assistant professor,
Department of Ophthalmology,
Gil Medical Center, Gachon University
Incheon, Korea

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Kim: Air pollution is an important public health concern nowadays and ocular surface is continuously exposed to the outdoor air pollutants.

Dry eye disease is a representative ocular surface abnormality and a probable disease to be associated with air pollution.

However, there is no large scale study including multiple air pollutants in assessing a relationship between air pollution and dry eye disease. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Kim: The main findings in this study are that higher ozone concentration and lower humidity were associated with dry eye disease, while there were no relationships between PM10(particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 10um) concentration and  dry eye disease in the Korean population.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kim: Particulate matter in several air pollutants have been considered as a main factor on the public health and dry eye disease in Asia especially.

From this report, we additionally need to be aware of the importance of ozone in dry eye disease.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kim: `I have a plan to perform a clinical study about dry eye disease and air pollution.

I will investigate several objective symptoms and signs in dry eye disease patients (for example, OSDI score, tear break up time, ocular staining score, schirmer test) and analyze the changes of dry eye according to the changes of multiple air pollutants. A lot of clinical studies about ozone and dry eye disease are required.

In addition, I will investigate a relationship between air pollution and other ocular disaeses (for example, cataract or pterygium) through a epidemiologic study.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Kim: The results from our study mean just associations, do not definitively mean a cause and effect relationship between  dry eye disease and outdoor air pollution factors.

Therefore, clinicians should be cautious in over-interpretation about our study.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Hwang S, Choi Y, Paik H, Wee W, Kim M, Kim D. Potential Importance of Ozone in the Association Between Outdoor Air Pollution and Dry Eye Disease in South Korea. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online March 10, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.0139.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD