Seasonal Effect on Ocular Sun Exposure and Conjunctival UV Autofluorescence

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Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate feasibility and repeatability of measures for ocular sun exposure and conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence (UVAF), and to test for relationships between the outcomes.

Methods

Fifty volunteers were seen for two visits 14 ± 2 days apart. Ocular sun exposure was estimated over a 2-week time period using questionnaires that quantified time outdoors and ocular protection habits. Conjunctival UVAF was imaged using a Nikon D7000 camera system equipped with appropriate flash and filter system; image analysis was done using ImageJ software. Repeatability estimates were made using Bland-Altman plots with mean differences and 95% limits of agreement calculated. Non-normally distributed data was transformed by either log10 or square root methods. Linear regression was conducted to evaluate relationships between measures.

Results

Mean (±SD) values for ocular sun exposure and conjunctival UVAF were 8.86 (±11.97) hours and 9.15 (±9.47) mm2, respectively. Repeatability was found to be acceptable for both ocular sun exposure and conjunctival UVAF. Univariate linear regression showed outdoor occupation to be a predictor of higher ocular sun exposure; outdoor occupation and winter season of collection both predicted higher total UVAF. Furthermore, increased portion of day spent outdoors while working was associated with increased total conjunctival UVAF.

Conclusions

We demonstrate feasibility and repeatability of estimating ocular sun exposure using a previously unreported method and for conjunctival UVAF in a group of subjects residing in Ohio. Seasonal temperature variation may have influenced time outdoors and ultimately calculation of ocular sun exposure. As winter season of collection and outdoor occupation both predicted higher total UVAF, our data suggests that ocular sun exposure is associated with conjunctival UVAF and, possibly, that UVAF remains for at least several months after sun exposure.

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