In a new study, researchers found migraine is linked to a higher risk of chronic dry eye disease.
The link is especially strong in older people.
The research was conducted by researchers from at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Migraine is recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. Usually, the headaches only affect one half of the head and can last from two to 72 hours.
In the U.S., about 14% of adults are affected by migraines.
Previous studies have shown that about 8% to 34% of people may be affected by dry eye disease.
It is a disorder of the tear film on the eye’s surface. The disease can lead to symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and other ocular issues.
In the current study, the team examined almost 73,000 people who received care from the ophthalmology clinics in North Carolina.
They found people with migraine had a 20% higher risk of developing dry eye disease.
The findings showed that the connection became stronger with age, especially for women.
In men aged 65 or over, migraines nearly doubled the risk of developing dry eye disease. Women with the same age had almost 2.5 times the risk of dry eye disease.
The team explains that there may be similar inflammatory processes at the cellular level that play roles in both dry eye disease and migraine.
It is possible that inflammation in dry eye disease triggers similar inflammation in neuromuscular tissue and causes migraine headaches.
Another possibility is that excessive dryness of the eye’s surface may influence nerve pathways and trigger migraines.
The researchers suggest that doctors caring for patients with a history of migraine need to be aware that their patients may have a high risk of dry eye disease.
It is important to monitor patients to see if they experience both health conditions.
The leader of the study is Dr. Richard Davis, an ophthalmologist at the University of North Carolina.
The study is published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
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