Association of sunlight exposure with visual impairment in an Indian fishing community

Shwetha V. Puthran, Sayantan Biswas, Siddharth K. Karthikeyan, Jyothi Thomas

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Purpose: Indian fishermen belong to a marginalized population and are continuously exposed to extreme occupational hazards and sunlight. A high prevalence of visual impairment (VI) is reported in the coastal fishing community. We aimed to investigate the association between VI and sunlight exposure measurement (SEM). Methods: In this cross-sectional observational study, 270 eyes of 135 participants were enrolled from a coastal fishing village. Participants underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic examination, which included best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), and anterior and posterior segment examination. Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and SEM questionnaire were administered to estimate the level of dry eye and ultraviolet-B (UV-B) exposure, respectively. VI was defined as presenting visual acuity worse than 6/12 (logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR] > 0.3). Results: The mean age and spherical equivalent were 50.56 ± 11.72 years (range: 18-80 years) and 0.36 ± 1.68 diopters (D) (range: -7.0 to +3.0 D), respectively. Age, SEM, OSDI, fishing as an occupation, and cataract were significantly associated with higher odds of VI in univariate analysis. Refraction, gender, education level, smoking status, amblyopia, systematic, and other ocular diseases were not significantly associated with VI. In the multivariate analysis, age, SEM, and presence of cataract remained significantly associated with a higher risk for VI. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values for age and SEM scores demonstrate a fair index of discrimination for the detection of VI. Conclusion: SEM level is directly associated with a higher risk of VI among fishermen. The fishing community might benefit from regular eye examinations and awareness about the harmful effects of sunlight exposure and preventive measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2409-2415
Number of pages7
JournalIndian journal of ophthalmology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2023

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  • Sunlight exposure
  • Ultraviolet-B
  • fisherman
  • visual impairment
  • cataract
  • ocular disease


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