The eye--a neglected organ in environmental and occupational medicine: an overview of known environmental and occupational non-traumatic effects on the eyes

Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2009 Jun;60(2):205-15. doi: 10.2478/10004-1254-60-2009-1869.


The objective of this study was to give an overview of the known literature data on the influence of environmental and occupational factors on the eye. Sixty-six articles were selected by searching Medline and PubMed databases using the following key words in different combinations: occupational and environmental factors, dry eye syndrome, cataract, retinal vascular changes. Most of the studies dealt with conditions on the eye surface and used eye discomfort syndrome and dry eye syndrome to outline the effects of air pollutants. Some reported increased frequency of lens opacities due to indoor fuel exposure, in particular biofuel, and negative effects of styrene exposure on colour vision. Investigations of retinal vascular changes and retinopathy after chronic exposure to carbon disulfide (CS2) and of retinal and choroidal haemodynamics after exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) found that CS2 caused an increase in retinal venous diameters and CO caused an increase in arterial and venous diameters, retinal blood flow velocity, and fundus pulsation amplitude. This article also discusses the influence of light exposure on retinal damage. It shows that very little information is available about the influence of environmental and occupational factors on the eye, and retina and retinal vessels in particular.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / physiopathology
  • Color Vision Defects / etiology
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / etiology*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational