In a new study, researchers found that people suffering from dry eye disease symptoms have a lower quality of life compared to those without symptoms.
They showed that patients with the condition reported negative effects on visual function, their ability to carry out daily activities and their work productivity.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Southampton.
Dry eye disease is a common condition and a frequent reason for patients to seek medical care. It can affect people of any age but is most prevalent in women and in older people.
Symptoms include irritation and redness in the eyes, blurred vision, and a sensation of grittiness or a foreign body in the eye.
It has been reported that up to a third of adults over 65 years old have the condition, although the actual number is likely to be higher as there is no established diagnostic test and people with mild symptoms are less likely to report them to their doctor.
Treatment often involves prescriptions of artificial tears, ocular lubricants and astringents.
In the study, the team set out to explore how dry eye disease affects the lives of adults in the UK through an online survey of one thousand patients with the condition and further one thousand without.
They showed that a higher proportion of participants with dry eye disease had problems with mobility and experienced more difficulties in their day-to-day activities than patients without the condition.
The surveys also revealed they were more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Those with the most severe symptoms we more likely to experience a negative impact on their social and emotional functioning as well work productivity, including missing more time from work as a result of their symptoms.
The team also found that participants with dry eye disease symptoms were a lot more likely to suffer from other comorbidities, twice as many suffered from arthritis, hearing loss or irritable bowel disease compared to the cohort without symptoms.
The findings suggest that the presence of dry eye disease does appear to impact an individual’s health and vision-related quality of life.
One author of the study is Dr. Parwez Hossain.
The study is published in BMJ Open.
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