A comparative assessment of dry eye disease among outdoor street sweepers and indoor office cleaners.

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Occupational predisposition to dry eye disease is known. Simultaneous exposure to multiple factors may pose more risk. Street sweepers are exposed to sunlight in addition to dust which all sweepers are exposed to. Tropical climate predisposes to significant exposure to sunlight. Combined exposure to dust and sunlight may lead to a synergy of factors. This study aims to assess the prevalence of dry eye disease (DED) amongst Street sweepers and Office cleaners in Calabar metropolis.A cross-sectional study was conducted among street sweepers and office cleaners. A systematic random sampling and multi-stage sampling method were used to select street sweepers (n = 115) and office cleaners (n = 115) respectively for the study. A pretested semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information after which the respondents had an ophthalmic examination. An assessment of DED was done with Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire, Schirmer’s test, and tear break up time (TBUT). OSDI scores of 33 and above; Schirmer’s test readings of  0.05) Street Sweepers had higher odds of developing dry eye disease compared to office cleaners (OR = 2.085; C.I. =1.106-3.929; p = 0.02). Negative correlation coefficient was observed between TBUT and OSDI (rs = - 0.102; p = 0.125). This was not statistically significant.Street sweepers had a higher prevalence of dry eye disease compared to office cleaners due to a higher risk of increased exposure to environmental factors such as dust, smoke, and sunlight. This effect is possibly due to a synergy of factors. Studies on dose-response are warranted.

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Authors: Chigozie I Echieh, Bassey A Etim, Chidiebere Peter Echieh, Taiwo Oyeniyi, Jeff Ajewole