Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a multifactorial disease that causes changes in the tear film and occurs more frequently in women. Sex hormones (SHs) influence tear production, and SHs imbalance is associated with DES. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are compounds that can bind to SHs receptors, changing the SHs action in several organs and tissues.
The levels of 21 EDCs were measured in the urine of DES patients and healthy controls. All individuals were submitted to eye exams for DES and responded to the questionnaire “Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI)”. DES was considered present when the OSDI score was > 20 and one of the DES tests surpassed the established thresholds.
Methyl-protocatechuic acid (OHMeP), had higher urine levels in DES individuals than in control individuals (p = 0.0189). On the other hand, triclocarban (TCC) exhibited lower urine levels in DES individuals than in control individuals (p = 0.0081). Statistically significant positive associations were found between MeP, EtP (ethyl paraben) and OHMeP with fluorescein staining test; between TCC and Tear breakup time test and between OHMeP and OSDI score. Significant negative associations were found between EtP and OHMeP and schirmer test; between OHMeP and Tear breakup time test; between TCC and the OSDI score and fluorescein and lissamine staining test.The quadratic discriminant function classified 94.4% of individuals in their groups based on the urine levels of EDCs.
The following EDCs, MeP, EtP, and OHMeP, were associated with signs and symptoms of DES. TCC had a paradoxical protective effect against DES. These findings suggest that EDCs are associated with DES and the exposure should be included in the investigation of causes and risk factors for DES.

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