Numerous studies have confirmed that ambient temperature and air pollution are associated with higher risk of morbidities to different systems of the human body, yet few have addressed their effect on the ocular system. The purpose of this study is to determine the association between temperature, air pollution and emergency room visits for non-specific conjunctivitis
In this retrospective cohort study, the records of all emergency room visits to Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) from 2009 to 2014 were reviewed for patients with conjunctivitis. Exposure to fine and coarse particulate matter and temperature were assessed by a hybrid model that incorporated daily satellite remote sensing.
The records of the 6001 patients who visited the SUMC emergency room with conjunctivitis, together with the meteorological data, revealed a positive association between temperature increment and incidence of conjunctivitis. The strongest effect was found during summer and autumn: the incidence increased 8.1% for each 1oC rise in temperature between 24oC and 28oC in the summer, and 7.2% for each 1oC rise in temperature between 13oC and 23oC in autumn. The association between fine and coarse particulate matter and incidence of conjunctivitis was not statistically significant.
High ambient temperature is significantly associated with an increased risk of nonspecific conjunctivitis in summer and autumn and not in spring and winter. Conjunctivitis is not associated with air pollution. The findings can assist community clinics and hospital emergency rooms prepare for the upticks in the condition during certain seasons and acute rises in temperatures, lowering the financial costs to both the individual and the public.