Different dry eye diagnostic criteria were used to reach a similar conclusion — approximately one-third of the adult UK population has dry eye disease (DED), according to a study published in Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. Positive predictors of DED include female sex, systemic and ocular health conditions, short sleep duration, and prolonged outdoor time, according to the report.
Researchers enrolled 282 participants (56% women; median age, 40 years) in a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of dry eye disease in the UK. The team used 2 different dry eye diagnostic criteria, which included Women’s Health Study (WHS) and Tear Film Ocular Surface Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II) measures. TF DEWS II criteria consisted of positive Dry Eye Questionnaire-5 (DEQ-5) and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) symptom scores and the presence of biomarkers, which included non-invasive tear break-up time of less than 10 seconds, highest osmolarity value of 308 mOsm/L or greater among eyes, or an interocular osmolarity difference of > 8 mOsm/L.
Overall, using the 2 different diagnostic criteria yielded a similar DED prevalence. According to TFOS DEWS II criteria, DED prevalence was 32.1% (95% CI, 25.5%–37.7%) and 29.5% (95% CI, 24.4%–35.1%) according to WHS criteria. Female sex, systemic or ocular health conditions, short sleep duration, and prolonged time spent outdoors were considered significant DED risk factors (P ≤.05 for all), according to the report.
“The primary importance of epidemiological studies is to gain an understanding of a disease burden to plan and allocate health sources,” according to the researchers. “In DED, the disease epidemiology has been challenged by the lack of a standardized diagnostic method to rely on. The present study is the first to determine the prevalence and risk factors of DED in the UK conforming to the TFOS DEWS II diagnostic criteria.”
Study limitations include small sample size and the potential for volunteer bias.
Vidal-Rohr M, Craig JP, Davies LN, Wolffsohn JS. The epidemiology of dry eye disease in the UK: The Aston dry eye study. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. Published online March 30, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2023.101837