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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter December 29, 2022

The impact of air pollution and climate change on eye health: a global review

  • Saif Aldeen Alryalat , Ahmad A. Toubasi , Jennifer L. Patnaik and Malik Y. Kahook ORCID logo EMAIL logo


Climate change has important implications on human health, affecting almost every system in the body. Multiple studies have raised the possibility of climate change impacting eye health. In this review, we aimed to summarize current literature on the impact of air pollution and climate change on eye health. We performed a search in four different databases, including Medline, Scopus, Cochrane, and Web of Sciences databases. The search strategy combined terms regarding eye health and environmental/climate changes. The outcome of interest included all eye conditions. The search yielded 2,051 unique articles. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, 61 articles were included in this systematic review with data covering 2,620,030 participants. Most studies originated from China, India, South Korea, and USA. Climate change adversely affected different eye conditions, with ocular surface diseases (e.g., conjunctivitis and dry eye) being most affected. Moreover, higher particulate matter (PM) was the most widely assessed pollutant and was adversely associated with the majority of eye conditions, increasing the burden on patients and healthcare providers. We found a low frequency of publications related to the delivery of eye care and its impact on climate change in countries with high air pollution and climate change burden.

Corresponding author: Malik Y. Kahook, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center, Aurora, CO, USA, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Conflict of interest: The authors have no relevant financial interests to disclose.

  5. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  6. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Supplementary Material

This article contains supplementary material (

Received: 2022-10-26
Accepted: 2022-12-07
Published Online: 2022-12-29

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