Office characteristics and dry eye complaints in European workers: The OFFICAIR study

Y de Kluizenaar, C. Roda, NE Dijkstra, S Fossati, C Mandin, VG Mihucz, O Hänninen, E de Oliveira Fernandes, GV Silva, P Carrer, J Bartzis, PM Bluyssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives Ocular discomfort is a prevalent health complaint in offices. It is hypothesized that, in addition to individual and occupational factors, the buildings' indoor environment may affect eye complaints. However, insight in potential building-related causal factors, needed to allow development of effective prevention strategies in building design, operation and maintenance is limited. This study aimed to investigate the relations between modern office building characteristics and dry eye complaints. Methods Comprehensive characteristics of 167 office buildings in eight European countries, were linked to questionnaire data from 7441 office workers. Multilevel modeling was applied to explore relations between building characteristics and self-reported dry eye complaints, in a cross-sectional study. Results Among office workers investigated, 34% declared dry eye complaints during the past four weeks. Majority of workers (91.2%) experiencing these symptoms, reported improvement on days away from the office. After full adjustment, the regression model revealed a significant increased risk for: proximity (<100 m) to potential sources of outdoor air pollution (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.06–1.88), absence of operable windows (OR: 1.70, 95% CI: 1.34–2.16), portable humidifiers in the offices (OR: 1.58, 95% CI: 1.18–2.11), exposed concrete and/or plaster (OR: 1.29, 95% CI 1.02–1.62) and dispersion and/or emulsion paint as wall covering in offices (OR: 1.20, 95% CI: 1.01–1.41). A negative association was found for cleaning surfaces at least once per week (OR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.61–0.91). Conclusions Building characteristics were associated with dry eye complaints of office workers. Focused studies are recommended to investigate underlying causes to prevent these symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Dry eyes
  • Building characteristics
  • Indoor environment
  • Office buildings
  • Sick building syndrome


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