BACKGROUND: To investigate and contrast the prevalence of dry eye symptoms in construction workers and office workers using the OSDI questionnaire. METHODS: A cross-sectional, observational study was conducted using the OSDI questionnaire to evaluate dry eye symptoms and associated risk factors. Sampled size calculation with a power of 80% and a 95% degree of confidence suggested the inclusion of 298 participants. RESULTS: We studied 304 subjects (149 construction workers and 155 office workers). More than half (55%) of the participants presented dry eye symptoms (OSDI > 12). The average OSDI score was 21.30 ± 22.20 points, being lower in the group of construction workers (12.45 ± 17.50) than in-office workers (28.51 ± 22.99) (p < 0.001). Considering participants who had moderate and severe symptoms (23 to 100 points in OSDI), office workers presented dry eye symptoms 4.15 times more frequently than construction workers (OR 4.15, 95% CI 2.52, 6.85). Women presented statistical evidence of higher OSDI scores than men (32.47 ± 23.72 vs. 14.87 ± 18.48, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: construction workers have four times less risk of presenting dry eye symptoms than people working in the average office space. This highlights the pernicious effects on the ocular surface of the office environment, which poses a significant risk for the development or worsening of dry eye symptoms.