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Prevalence and risk factors of dry eye disease in a British female cohort


Background/aims To estimate the prevalence and risk factors of dry eye disease (DED) in a female cohort in the UK.

Methods Population-based cross-sectional association study of 3824 women from the TwinsUK cohort aged 20–87 years. A questionnaire was used to evaluate DED and several risk factors. Binary logistic regression, corrected for age, was used to examine the association between DED and risk factors.

Results 9.6% of women had a DED diagnosis and concomitant use of artificial tears, and 20.8% experienced DED symptoms in the past 3 months. Risk factors that were significantly associated with DED were age, asthma, eczema, the presence of any allergy, cataract surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, migraine and stroke. The highest effect sizes were found with depression, pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic widespread pain syndrome (all p<0.0005). Subjects with DED symptoms scored significantly lower on self-perceived health, compared with controls (p=0.001).

Conclusions DED is common and increases with age within this cohort of female twins. We confirmed established risk factors for the first time in a British population, and found important risk factors that might relate to an underlying aetiology involving chronic pain predisposition or somatisation.

  • Epidemiology
  • Cornea
  • Conjunctiva
  • Ocular surface

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