The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Study: 21% of Canadians have dry eye?

Prevalence of dry eye disease in Ontario, Canada: A population-based survey. (Caffery et al, The Ocular Surface, Feb 2019.)



Population-based cross-sectional survey in Ontario to estimate the 2016 prevalence of dry eye disease (DED) and associated risk factors among adults in Canada.


We emailed the 5-Item Dry Eye Questionnaire (DEQ-5) to 124,469 Ontario adults (age ≥18 years) in the IQVIA E360 database, March-April 2017. Inclusion criteria were: ≥2 visits to an Ontario based clinic, ≥1 visits in the 1 year before the study; database record with email. DED was defined as a DEQ-5 score of >6/22. The crude prevalence by age/sex of the Ontario sample was adjusted to the 2016 Canadian population (mean age 41.0 years, 51% female). Significance of DED risk factors (age, sex, selected diseases/medical conditions and medications) was evaluated by logistic regression analysis.


Of the 5163 (4.1%) patients who completed the survey (59.5% female, median age, 46 years; 40.4% male, 56 years), 1135 respondents reported DED. Prevalence increased with age (p < 0.05) and was highest among those aged 55-64 years (24.7%; 95% CI, 22.1-27.3%) and lowest among those aged 25-34 years (18.4%; 95% CI, 15.9-21.0%). Prevalence was significantly higher (p < 0.001) among women (24.7%; 95% CI, 23.2-26.2%) than men (18.0%; 95% CI, 16.4-19.7%). Other risk factors were not significant. The age-/sex-adjusted Canadian DED prevalence estimate from this sample was 21.3% (95% CI, 19.8-23.2%), corresponding to ∼6.3 million people.


Based on the Ontario sample, we estimate that >6 million Canadian adults may have DED, and that older people and females are more likely to be affected.