The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Abstract: Dry eye... it's all about the comorbidities.

Now they’re definitely singing my tune! I want to see more, and more, and more, and more studies like this because this one just scratches the surface. The whole point with symptomatic dry eye is that there are always multiple things going on that play into the dry eye picture - whether it’s eye diseases, dermatological diseases, systemic diseases, topical medications, oral medications or a litany of other factors. Dry eye is all about comorbidities!

Am J Ophthalmol. 2018 Oct 9. pii: S0002-9394(18)30582-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2018.10.001. [Epub ahead of print]

Comorbidities and Prescribed Medications in Patients With or Without Dry Eye Disease: A Population-Based Study.

Dana R, Bradley JL, Guerin A, Pivneva I, Evans AM, Stillman IÖ.



To assess the proportion of comorbidities in patients with dry eye disease (DED) compared with matched patients without DED in a comprehensive US population.


Retrospective case-control study METHODS: Health care records for insurance claims data, detailing medical services incurred by military personnel, their families and dependents in military and civilian facilities across the United States from January 1, 2003 to March 31, 2015, were obtained from the Department of Defense (DOD) Military Health System (MHS). Diagnostic and procedural codes related to DED from selected International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), Current Procedural Terminology codes, and prescriptions for cyclosporine A ophthalmic emulsion were used to identify patients with newly diagnosed and prevalent DED in the MHS database. Age, sex and geographically matched patients without DED were also identified. From healthcare claims records. Medication use and comorbidities in these patient populations were assessed and compared.


In both the newly diagnosed and prevalent DED samples, the most common comorbidities were hypertension, cataracts, thyroid disease, type 2 diabetes, and glaucoma. All comorbidities were significantly higher in the DED versus non-DED groups (P < .001). Medication use (including, but not limited to, ophthalmic agents and drugs to treat comorbidities) was also significantly higher in the DED than in the non-DED groups (P < .001).


The high proportions of patients with DED with a range of comorbidities and prescribed medications highlight the need for a multidisciplinary approach to the management of these patients.