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Ophthalmic Res. 2010;43(4):201-7. doi: 10.1159/000272938. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

Effect of work-related ultraviolet exposure and ophthalmic changes in Austrian farmers: the SVB-UV study.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Retinology and Biomicroscopic Laser Surgery, Rudolf Foundation Clinic, Vienna, Austria.



Epidemiological screening to examine possible ultraviolet-induced ocular changes and pathologies in Austrian farmers.


The study was performed on behalf of the Austrian farmer insurance (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Bauern). Randomly selected farmers and office workers as controls, both at the age of 35-55 years, underwent ophthalmic screening examinations. All subjects underwent complete ophthalmic examinations by slit lamp examination and Schirmer's test 1. A survey, regarding personal habits in the sun, was also conducted.


Three hundred and ninety-two subjects underwent ophthalmic examinations of whom 297 were farmers and 95 were controls. Due to the survey, 89.7% of the farmers claimed to protect themselves from the sun during work. From these subjects, 83.7% wear a head protection, 71.0% wear sunglasses, and 54.4% usually work in the shade. There were significant differences in lid (p = 0.021) and conjunctival pathologies (p < 0.0001) between farmers and controls.


Austrian farmers are at a higher risk for developing lid and conjunctival tumours which require treatment at some point. We believe that the study group was too young to show significant differences within the lens and the posterior pole. A 5-year follow-up is planned.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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