The Role of Temperature Change, Ambient Temperature, and Relative Humidity in Allergic Conjunctivitis in a US Veteran Population

Sneh Patel, Carol Kaplan, Anat Galor, Naresh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Studies have implicated temperature and humidity in the pathogenesis of allergic conjunctivitis (AC), as these conditions facilitate air particulate and aeroallergen dispersion and tear film instability. Research also suggests that variation in temperature is associated with risk of asthma, but similar data are limited for AC. This study examined associations between several meteorologic conditions, including temperature variation, and AC visit risk. Design: Retrospective, case-crossover study. Methods: Data on individuals diagnosed with AC (via International Classification of Diseases—Ninth Edition [ICD-9]) at a Veterans Affairs clinic from January 2010–December 2013 was extracted. Local climate data were obtained from the National Climactic Data Center. Utilizing a case-crossover design, all cases were assigned a random control date 90-250 days prior to diagnosis. Daily time-lagged exposures were computed for 30-day lags. The associations between temperature, temperature variation (standard deviation [SD] of temperature), relative humidity (RH), and temperature-RH interaction with visit risk were examined via multivariate logistic regression models both at the national level and across domestic climate regions. Results: Overall, 74,951 subjects made 116,162 visits for AC. Prevalence was highest in spring (>10% April-May) in the Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE) (>15%), and lowest in winter (<6.1% December-February) in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) (<5%). AC visit risk was positively associated with temperature (OR 1.028, P < .001), SD of temperature (OR 1.054, P < .01), and temperature-RH interaction (OR 1.0003, P < .01), whereas it was negatively associated with RH (OR 0.998, P < .001). Regionally, the PNW, NE, and Lower Midwest (LMW) accounted for the strongest associations. Conclusion: Temperature, temperature variation, and RH associated with AC visit risk. Observed associations were strongest in northern regions, like the PNW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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