Risk factors for dry eye progression include sleep apnea, PTSD and depression.

study conducted at Miami Veterans Affairs Hospital assessed 120 veterans who had a wide variety of dry eye symptoms, ranging from none to severe.  Dry eye questionnaires were given at the initial visit and at a one year follow up asking about severity of symptoms.
Notable findings:
–Almost half (44%) of the patients with no dry eye symptoms at baseline progressed to severe dry eye at the one year follow up.
–The nonocular risk factors for the progression of dry eye symptoms included:

  • sleep disturbances (i.e sleep apnea and insomnia)
  • mental health status (i.e posttraumatic stress disorder and depression)
  • nonocular pain
  • medications (i.e anxiolytics and analgesics)

The authors note, “although this cohort was limited to US veterans, which may not be generalizable to other populations, our results suggest that pain perception and severity are important when evaluating and managing dry eye”.

Jaclyn Garlich
Dr. Garlich graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2010 and completed a residency in primary care and ocular disease at the St. Louis VA. In 2013, she developed an optometry clinical reference mobile app available in the iTunes store. In 2016, she founded 20/20 Glance, a weekly optometry newsletter that gives a rundown on clinically relevant optometry news in an easy to digest format.

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