Dry Eye Risk Elevated in Patients With Migraine

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Neurogenic inflammation has been identified as a common mechanism between dry eye and migraines.

Patients with migraine are more susceptible to an increased risk of dry eye than those who do not experience migraine, according to a study published in Cornea. However, the strength of this association varied according to the populations studied.

Researchers included 7 studies (4 hospital-based, 3 population-based) between 2014-2020 in the meta-analysis. Two investigators performed a database search using a combination of terms related to migraine and dry eye disease. They included original, case-control or cross-sectional analyses with reported odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI) between dry eye and migraine. Overall, they included 1,033,288 participants. 

The team determined that patients with migraine had a significantly higher morbidity of dry eye compared with the control group (OR=1.55; 95% CI, 1.32–1.82; P <.001). They also noted that this association between dry eye and migraine was stronger in hospital-based studies (OR=1.97; P =.036) than in the population-based studies (OR=1.42; <.001) included in the analysis. Differences in geographic location and diagnostic criteria did not affect this association. 

“The possible explanation of the significant associations between dry eye and migraine may lie in the common mechanism of the 2 diseases, which is neurogenic inflammation,” according to the researchers. “In recent years, migraine has been reported to be associated with inflammatory connective tissue diseases such as Sjögren syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.”

Study limitations include potential publication bias, a limited number of studies used, differences in dry eye disease diagnosis criteria among the studies, and the failure of 2 of the studies to adjust for potential confounders. 


Chen H, Chen A, Wang S, et al. Association between migraine and dry eye: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Cornea. 2022;41(6):740-745. doi:10.1097/ICO.0000000000002851