HealthDay News — Severe dry eye symptoms and ocular pain at baseline are associated with persistent severe dry eye symptoms 1 year later, according to a study published online December 22 in JAMA Ophthalmology.1

Erin S. Ong, from the Miami Veteran Administration Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study among patients with a wide variety of dry eye symptoms and signs. The authors examined the change in dry eye symptom severity during 1 year and conducted baseline risk factor analysis for severe dry eye symptoms at 1 year.

The researchers found that 44.8% of the 120 patients with no symptoms or mild-to-moderate symptoms at baseline progressed to more severe symptoms at 1 year. Among the 62 patients with severe symptoms at baseline, 74.2% reported that severe symptoms persisted at 1 year. Severe dry eye symptoms, ocular pain, and neuropathic pain-like ocular symptoms were baseline ocular risk factors for severe dry eye symptoms at 1 year. Sleep disturbances, mental health status, non-ocular pain, and medications were non-ocular risk factors. The most significant risk factors in a multivariable analysis were sleep apnea (odds ratio [OR], 3.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 14.49), Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 score (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.30), and post-traumatic stress disorder score (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.08).

“Our results suggest that pain perception and severity are important when evaluating and managing dry eye,” the authors write.


  1. Ong ES, Alghamdi YA, Levitt RC, et al. Longitudinal Examination of Frequency of and Risk Factors for Severe Dry Eye Symptoms in US Veterans. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4925.