The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Study: Airplanes are bad for dry eye (really???)

Increased evaporative rates in laboratory testing conditions simulating airplane cabin relative humidity: an important factor for dry eye syndrome

Eye Contact Lens. 2007 Jul;33(4):174-6
Uchiyama E, Aronowicz JD, Butovich IA, McCulley JP.

PURPOSE: To quantitatively explore the relationship between low relative humidity conditions, as experienced in airplane cabins during flight, and increases in aqueous tear evaporation as a potential explanation for increased dry eye symptoms noted by people when in low humidity environmental conditions.... CONCLUSIONS.: These studies quantitatively show the negative impact of environmental low relative humidity conditions, including those associated with commercial airplane travel, on aqueous tear evaporation dynamics. The increased evaporative rate is similar in healthy subjects and patients with dry eye. These findings provide useful data for the development and evaluation of treatment paradigms for any person who notes dry eye symptoms in low relative humidity environments.

No surprises in the results, but this study underscores the need for protective measures for people already suffering from dry eye, such as foam-lined eyewear, a sleep mask, or a Tranquileyes goggle.