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Indian J Ophthalmol. 2008 Jul-Aug;56(4):319-22.

Ocular manifestations in bidi industry workers: possible consequences of occupational exposure to tobacco dust.

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Aravind Eye Hospital and Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.


Tobacco consumption is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and premature death but little is known about its deleterious effect on the ocular health of workers handling tobacco. The goal of this study was to identify probable effects of occupational tobacco exposure among south Indian bidi-industry workers. This study included 310 females (mean age, 34.8 +/- 10.9 years) actively involved in bidi-rolling presenting with eye symptoms to a tertiary eye care hospital. Results suggested that a wide spectrum of ocular complications exist among these workers. Common ocular symptoms were defective vision, dull-aching headache and eye irritation. The main ocular findings were papillary conjunctival hyperplasia, hyperpigmentation of ocular surface, punctate epithelial erosion or superficial punctate keratitis, cataract or pseudophakia and segmental optic atrophy. Abstaining from work, supplementation of Vitamin B complex rich in B 12 and appropriate surgical or medical management reversed visual loss due to corneal disease or cataract but was not effective in optic neuropathy.

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