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Classifying signs and symptoms of dry eye disease according to underlying mechanism via the Delphi method: the DIDACTIC study

Abstract

Background/aims Dry eye disease (DED) is categorised by pathophysiology as aqueous deficient dry eye (ADDE), evaporative dry eye (EDE) or mixed. Treatment should be tailored to DED pathophysiology, but this is challenging to determine. This Delphi consultation aimed to categorise and weight signs and symptoms to help identify the evaporative or aqueous deficient DED origin.

Methods A panel of French DED experts created an initial list of 77 DED signs and symptoms. In a Delphi consultation, experts categorised items by DED pathophysiology. Likert scoring was used to indicate whether items were strongly or moderately indicative of ADDE or EDE. Items could also be judged non-applicable to DED, with the opportunity to suggest alternative diagnoses.

Results Experts attributed 19 items (of which 11 were strongly indicative) to a pathophysiology of EDE and 12 items (of which four were strongly indicative) to ADDE. Items scored strongly indicative with agreement >90% for EDE were previous chalazia, rosacea/rhinophyma, telangiectasias of eyelid margin and thick non-expressible meibomian gland secretions, and for ADDE were Sjögren syndrome or associated disease, and Schirmer <5 mm after 5 min (without anaesthesia). Seventeen items indicated neither pathophysiology and 18 items were found to be suggestive of alternative diagnoses.

Conclusions This Delphi consultation categorised signs and symptoms, using an innovative weighting system to identify DED pathophysiology. An algorithm integrating the weighting of each sign and symptom of an individual patient would be valuable to help general ophthalmologists to classify the DED subtype and tailor treatment to DED underlying mechanism.

  • ADDE
  • delphi
  • dry eye disease
  • mechanism
  • EDE
  • lacrimal deficiency
  • pathophysiology
  • signs
  • symptoms
  • tears
  • Sjögren

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