Introduction Eye irritation is generally among top-3 reported symptoms in office environments. The symptoms are especially among middle and advanced ages and particularly among women more than men. The eye symptoms are the most commonly reported complaints in the eye clinic. A multidisciplinary understanding of potential risk factors is necessary to interpret the high prevalence of eye symptoms.
Methods Literature from 2012 to June 2017 has been updated in context of dry eye (DE) symptom reporting in office-like environments by searches in the public databases and previous reviews.
Results The overview reveals that the external eye physiology (separate from internal eye effects), eye diseases (evaporative dry eye, aqueous-deficient dry eye, and gland dysfunctions) aggravate the stability of precorneal tear film (PTF); this appears to cause hyperosmolarity and initiation of inflammatory reactions. Further, indoor environmental, occupational and personal risk factors may aggravate the PTF stability. These are, inter alia age, contact lenses, cosmetics, diet, draft, gender, low humidity and high temperature, medication, outdoor and combustion pollutants, and VDU work. Psychological stressors may further influence the reporting behaviour of symptoms. The risk factor impact may occur in a combined and exacerbating manner.
Discussion Multifactorial causalities show two key indoor parameters, visually demanding tasks combined with low relative humidity. A substantial fraction of office workers may have unrecognised DE diseases which may further be exacerbated by environmental, occupational and personal risk factors. Dry eye-like related symptoms in office-like environments may be considered a subgroup of ‘dry eye’ disease.
A number of other risk factors in the office environment are associated with reported DE symptoms. These may in combination exacerbate the symptom reporting. Except for combined events, indoor VOCs, formaldehyde, and acrolein are not expected to cause sensory-related eye symptoms in offices without aggravation of the PTF.
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