ZrSiS is a nodal-line semimetal, whose electronic band structure contains a diamond-shaped line of Dirac nodes. We carried out a comparative study on the optical conductivity of ZrSiS and the related compounds ZrSiSe, ZrSiTe, ZrGeS, and ZrGeTe by reflectivity measurements over a broad frequency range combined with density functional theory calculations. The optical conductivity exhibits a distinct U shape, ending at a sharp peak at around 10000cm-1 for all studied compounds except for ZrSiTe. The U shape of the optical conductivity is due to transitions between the linearly dispersing bands crossing each other along the nodal line. The sharp high-energy peak is related to transitions between almost parallel bands, and its energy position depends on the interlayer bonding correlated with the c/a ratio, which can be tuned by either chemical or external pressure. For ZrSiTe, another pair of crossing bands appears in the vicinity of the Fermi level, corrugating the nodal-line electronic structure and leading to the observed difference in optical conductivity. The findings suggest that the Dirac physics in ZrXY compounds with X=Si,Ge and Y=S,Se,Te is closely connected to the interlayer bonding. \ 2019 American Physical Society. US.