Computer professionals have little awareness or knowledge of the risk factors associated with dry eye disease (DED) despite being at risk due to increased screen time, according to a study published in Eye & Contact Lens.
“(. . .) dry eye is a lifestyle disease. Long-term visual display terminals (VDTs) use, contact lens wear, prolonged sedentary behaviors, desiccating conditions, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were identified to implicate in dry eye,” according to the study authors. “Thus, lifestyle intervention and risk factor modification seems to be a more cost-effective, self-directed and convenient method for preventing and managing dry eye.”
Researchers included 1256 individuals who worked for an internet company (41% women; mean age, 28.0 years) in a cross-sectional study to examine dry eye knowledge, symptoms, and risk factors among these professionals. Participants completed a non validated questionnaire in addition to the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and provided demographic, contact lens use, and visual display terminal use data.
A total of 54.4% (n=688) of participants reported seeing or hearing something about dry eye recently and most received their information from the internet. Among the cohort, 50.8% (n=643) of participants were identified as having dry eye symptoms.
Certain individuals reported greater dry eye awareness, including contact lens wearers (odds ratio [OR], 6.49; 95% CI, 3.70-11.38; P <.001), participants with a history of refractive surgery (OR, 5.09; 95% CI, 2.34-11.08; P <.001), relatives or friends of ophthalmologists (OR, 2.76; 95% CI, 1.39-5.49; P =.004), patients with dry eye symptoms (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.47-2.38; P <.001) and women (OR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.13-1.86; P =.004).
However, a substantial number of professionals did not have a knowledge of non modifiable or modifiable risk factors for dry eye, according to the report.
“Internet professionals are at high risk of dry eye, but probably do not realize the risk,” according to the researchers. “Such phenomenon suggests inadequate public education, which needs to be strengthened in the future, for risk factor modification and preventative intervention might be more cost-effective than treatment for dry eye management.”
Study limitations include potential selection bias, an inability to identify potential confounders due to the cross-sectional nature, and failure to perform objective testing.
Fan Z, Du Y, Tang C, et al. Awareness, prevalence, and knowledge of dry eye among internet professionals: a cross-sectional study in China. Eye Contact Lens. Published online January 27, 2023. doi:10.1097/ICL.0000000000000968