Allergic Conjunctivitis Affects Sleep Quality in Children, Parents

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Researchers investigate the association between ocular allergies and sleep quality in pediatric patients and caretakers.

Allergic conjunctivitis (AC) negatively affects sleep quality in children and their parents, according to research published in Eye. 

Researchers recruited 73 children with AC (mean age, 8.45±2.15 years; 83.6% boys) and their parents (mean age, 36.6±5.44 years; 32.9% men) along with 81 age-matched control individuals (mean age, 8.59±2.21 years; 39.5% boys) and their parents (mean age, 36.6±5.44; 19.8% men) for the analysis. Children underwent comprehensive ophthalmic examination including biomicroscopy and best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) measurement. The Children’s Sleep Habit Questionnaire (CSHQ) assessed the sleep habits of the children, while the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) measured sleeping scores in their parents. A higher score indicated poorer sleep quality for both analyses.

Children with AC were stratified into 1 of 2 groups based on whether they had type 1 allergic reactions (seasonal allergic conjunctivitis/ perennial allergic conjunctivitis [SAC/PAC]) or a combination of type 1 and type 4 allergic reactions (vernal keratoconjunctivitis/ atopic keratoconjunctivitis [VKC/AKC]).  

Overall, mean BCVA was comparable between children with AC and control group participants. The questionnaires revealed poorer sleep quality in children with AC compared with control individuals (CSHQ: 48.3±6.55 vs 38.8±4.63; P <.001) and poorer sleep quality among parents of children with AC compared with parents in the control group (PSQI: 5.62±2.12 vs 3.40±1.90; P <.001). A total of 89% of children with AC scored a 41 or higher on the CSHQ compared with 23.5% of control group participants, and 18.5% of their parents scored a 7 or higher on the PSQI compared with 1.23% of parents in the control group (both P <.001). Follicle formation and keratitis negatively affected sleep quality in children with AC (Odds Ratio [OR], 3.95; 95% CI, 1.88-8.31; P <.001 and OR, 6.03; 95% CI, 1.29-28.3; P =.028, respectively) and their parents (OR, 7.14; 95% CI, 2.06–24.8; P =.002 and OR, 4.49; 95% CI, 1.27–15.9; P =.020, respectively).

Sleep quality comparisons between children in the SAC/PAC and VKC/AKC groups and their parents did not yield any significant differences in sleep quality scores. 

“As one of the common allergic diseases, the potential effect of AC on children’s quality of life has been underestimated,” according to the researchers. “The results of our most recent study disclose an association between AC and impaired health-related quality of life for children and their parents.”

Study limitations include a single center design and the use of subjective questionnaires. 


Li J, Zhang S-y, Fan Z, Liu R, Jin L, Liang L. Impaired sleep quality in children with allergic conjunctivitis and their parents. Eye. Published online July 22, 2022. doi:10.1038/s41433-022-02182-4