The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Abstract: Veterans & dry eye

Some of the risk factors are typical (sleep apnea, because they're probably all using CPAP which is blowing in their eyes; thyroid disease has a known connection) but I find the connection with depression and PTSD quite interesting - I wonder if that really is as simple as antidepressant, antianxiety etc side effects or there is more to it. I tend to think that those conditions enhance eye pain in individuals who are not on medication.

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Dry Eye Syndrome in a United States Veterans Affairs Population.

To evaluate the prevalence of dry eye syndrome (DES) and its associated risk factors in a US Veterans Affairs population receiving ocular care services.

Retrospective study.

settings: Patients were seen in the Miami and Broward Veterans Affairs eye clinics between 2005 and 2010. patients population: Patients were divided into cases and controls with regard to their dry eye status (cases = ICD9 code for DES plus dry eye therapy; controls = patients without ICD9 code plus no therapy). Main outcome measures: The prevalence of DES and its associated risk factors.

A total of 16 862 patients were identified as either a dry eye case (n = 2056) or control (n = 14 806). Overall, 12% of male and 22% of female patients had a diagnosis of DES, with female gender imparting a 2.40 increased risk (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.04-2.81) over male gender. Several medical conditions were found to increase DES risk including post-traumatic stress disorder (odds ratio [OR] 1.97, 95% CI 1.75-2.23), depression (OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.73-2.10), thyroid disease (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.46-2.26), and sleep apnea (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.97-2.46) (all analyses adjusted for gender and age). The use of several systemic medications, including anti-depressant medications (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.79-2.17), anti-anxiety medication (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.58-1.91), and anti-benign prostatic hyperplasia medications (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.51-1.86), was likewise associated with an increased risk of DES.

The prevalence of DES was found to be high in both men and women in our eye care population. This is the first study to demonstrate that in a veteran population, several diagnoses were significantly associated with DES, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Am J Ophthalmol. 2011 Jun 17. [Epub ahead of print]
Galor A, Feuer W, Lee DJ, Florez H, Carter D, Pouyeh B, Prunty WJ, Perez VL.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miami, Florida; Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center, Miami, Florida.