Dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) estimates vary among studies, creating uncertainty as to their true prevalence and incidence in the US, according to research published in JAMA Ophthalmology. These findings highlight the need for validated diagnostic criteria for these conditions.
Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis using studies found on Ovid MEDLINE and Embase between January 1, 2010, and August 16, 2021. Case reports, case series, case-control studies, and interventional studies were excluded. Overall, 13 studies that examined dry eye prevalence (n=10), dry eye incidence (n=2), and MGD prevalence (n=3) were included in the analysis.
When all studies pertaining to dry eye prevalence were included, a 17.4% summary estimate was obtained (range, 1.6%-46.8%; 95% CI, 8.9%-31.4%; n=13,546368). Performing the analysis with certain dry eye prevalence studies excluded resulted in various changes in prevalence range. Dry eye prevalence appears to increase with age, female sex, diabetes and diabetic complications, and southern US regions, according to the report.
Dry eye incidence was 3.5 % among individuals aged 18 years and older, and 7.8% among individuals aged 68 years and older.
A MGD prevalence pooled estimate of 21.2% (95% CI, 7.2%-48.3%; range 10.4%-55.4%; n=19,648) was obtained from the analysis. Associations between prevalence and age were inconsistent among the reports, and none of the studies reported MGD incidence.
“Studies included in the meta-analysis had diverse population characteristics, variations in study designs and settings, and heterogeneous definitions of dry eye, which increase our uncertainty in the summary prevalence estimate,” according to researchers. “Future epidemiological studies would benefit from the development of a standard set of diagnostic criteria for DED.”
Limitations include variations in study designs and settings, heterogeneous definitions of dry eye, and a lack of MGD incidence data.
McCann P, Abraham AG, Mukhopadhyay A, et al. Prevalence and incidence of dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction in the United States: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online October 27, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.4394