The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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Abstract: Dry eye and glaucoma

GLAUCOMA PATIENTS AND DOCS, here's yet another one to put you on your guard about what kind of meds you're using! Every additional drop of a drug containing the preservative BAK doubles the risk of dry eye according to this study.

Prevalence of ocular surface disease in glaucoma patients.J Glaucoma. 2008 Aug;17(5):350-5.
Leung EW, Medeiros FA, Weinreb RN.

PURPOSE: To examine the prevalence of ocular surface disease (OSD) in glaucoma patients.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study. One hundred and one patients, 18 years of age or older, with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension were consecutively recruited for the study. Patients with a history of use of cyclosporine, steroids, topical ocular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or punctal plugs within the last 3 months were excluded. Each patient completed an Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire and underwent evaluation by Schirmer test, corneal and conjunctival lissamine green staining, and tear break-up time.

RESULTS: Using Ocular Surface Disease Index for measuring symptoms of dry eye, 60 (59%) patients reported symptoms in at least 1 eye. Severe symptoms were reported by 27 (27%) patients. Schirmer testing showed 62 (61%) patients with decrease in tear production in at least 1 eye. Severe tear deficiency was presented in 35 (35%) patients. Corneal and conjunctival lissamine green staining showed positive results in 22 (22%) patients. None had severe staining. Tear break-up time showed abnormal tear quality in 79 (78%) patients and severe decrease in tear quality was found in at least 1 eye in 66 (65%) patients. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to investigate the association between the number of benzalkonium chloride (BAK)-containing eyedrops and results on the clinical tests of OSD. After adjustment for age and sex, each additional BAK-containing eyedrop was associated with an approximately 2 times higher odds of showing abnormal results on the lissamine green staining test (odds ratio=2.03; 95% confidence interval: 1.06 to 3.89; P=0.034).

CONCLUSION: A large proportion of patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension had signs and/or symptoms of OSD in at least 1 eye. The coexistence of OSD and the use of BAK-containing medications may impact vision-related quality of life in this patient population.
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