Dry eye prevalence and attributable risk factors

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Research Article
Dry eye prevalence and attributable risk factors in the
eastern Madhya Pradesh
Pankaj Choudhary, Charudatt Chalisgaonkar, Sujata Lakhtakia, Anamika Dwivedi, Shekhar kain
Department of Ophthalmology, Shyam Shah Medical College, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Correspondence to: Pankaj Choudhary, E-mail: [email protected]
Received June 30, 2015. Accepted July 09, 2015
Abstract
Background: There is increasing prevalence of dry eye in recent years. This disease is chronic and progressive and
invariably leads to complications, if left untreated.
Objective: To study the prevalence, incidence, and attributable risk factors associated with dry eye syndrome in eastern
Madhya Pradesh region.
Materials and Methods: This study included 1178 patients of which 114 patients were found to have dry eye. After
detailed history, complete work up, and investigations patients were categorized into mild, moderate, and severe grades.
Result: In this study, the prevalence of dry eye in hospital-based population in eastern Madhya Pradesh was 9.6%. Dry
eye was more common in women (66.6%). Most patients in this study belonged to rural background (60.5%). Air pollution
(33.3%) was found to be the most common attributable risk factor affecting most of the farmers/laborers (33.4%). In this
study 43.8% patients had moderate and 39.6% patients had mild grade of dry eye.
Conclusion: Diagnosis of dry eye is often overlooked as a possible cause of patient’s complaint. Therefore, detection of
disease at the earliest stage and prevention of attributable risk factors for dry eye alluded to in literature include air pollution, cigarette smoking, low humidity, high temperature, sunlight exposure, drugs, and uncorrected refractive error should
be the goal so that disease progression to severe stage and serious sight-threatening complications caused by severe
dry eye could be prevented. Thus prevention of attributable risk factors and early diagnosis could be the key for dry eye
and offers good hope for better outcome.
KEY WORDS: Dry eye, prevalence, risk factors, occupation
Introduction
Dry eye was defined by the national eye institute industry
workshop in 1993 by Lemp[1] as a disorder of tear film due
to tear deficiency or excessive evaporation, which causes
Access this article online
Website: http://www.ijmsph.com
DOI: 10.5455/ijmsph.2015.20062015319
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damage to the interpalpebral ocular surface and is associated
with symptoms of discomfort. An unstable tear film inadequately
supports the health of the ocular surface epithelium, promoting
ocular surface inflammation and stimulates ocular pain.
Dry eye syndrome is a fairly common condition and there
is increasing prevalence of dry eye syndrome in recent years.
Increasing longevity of population, increasing computer use,
more patients having LASIK surgery, and more people taking
medication with side effects that have adverse effect on
production of high-quality tears seem to result into a large
number of patients with dry eye.
The study of dry eye syndrome is important because of
increasing frequency of its occurrence, various risk factors
with which disease is associated and difficulties in treatment
of disease.
International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health Online 2015. © 2015 Pankaj Choudhary. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health | 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue 11
1556
Choudhary et al.: Dry eye and attributable risk factors
Keeping the above facts in view, this study was carried out
with aim to shed light on the dark area and to place things in
true perspective. Recent advances in our knowledge of the
causation of dry eye disease opens opportunities for improving diagnosis, disease management and for developing new,
more effective therapies to manage this widely prevalent and
debilitating disease state.
Objective
To study the prevalence and incidence of dry eye
syndrome in eastern Madhya Pradesh region. To study the
attributable risk factors associated with dry eye syndrome and
its various subtypes.
Materials and Methods
This study included 1178 patients consecutively from outdoor and those admitted in Department of Ophthalmology,
Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Rewa (MP) from July 2007 to
October 2009.
A detailed history of patient including his/her name, age,
address, occupation, and registration number was noted.
Attributable risk factors that exacerbated the symptoms of dry
eye are place of residence (rural or urban), excessive wind,
sunlight, high temperature, air, pollution, drug, computer
worker, office worker/shopkeeper, factory worker, myopia,
hypermetropia, etc. A detailed history of medication, ocular
disease, operation, treatment, occupation, and medical history
was recorded in every case. After recording relevant history
of case, the external examination of both eyes (using diffuse
torch light and slit lamp) of each patient was conducted. All the
patients were subjected to a 13 point ‘Dry Eye Questionnaire’
based on model suggested by Hikichi et al.[2] In selected
patients a complete ophthalmological examination was
carried out using a slit lamp bio microscope. Objective tests
comprising blink rate, Schirmer’s test, tear film break up time,
rose Bengal test, and Lissamine green staining were carried
out. Complete refraction under mydriasis with subjective
correction was done where required.
Ocular Examination
●● Visual acuity: This was tested with Snellens test type.
●● Blink rate: Frequency of blink rate was noted (increased/
decreased/normal) and also whether there was incomplete closure of lid or lagophthalmos.
●● Palpebral fissure: Narrow/wide/normal.
●● Lid margins were examined for any evidence of blepharitis, entropion, and ectropion.
●● Conjunctiva was examined for hyperemia, lymphoid follicle,
papillae, cicatrization, and symblepharon.
●● Cornea was examined for any evidence of ulcer, epithelial
filaments, mucous plaques, opacities, loss of normal
luster. Corneal sensations were noted by touching the
cornea with cotton wisp.
●● T
ear film was examined for thinning, any debris or mucous
strands.
●● Relevant general and systemic examination was carried
out.
Investigations
Both eyes of all patients were subjected to specific
investigations such as Schirmer’s test, TBUT, Rose bengal,
Lissamine green, and fluorescein stain. The results of tear
function tests were further subjected to scoring system
(Khurana (1993) scoring system)[3] to assess the severity of
dry eye. According to their scores, the patients were graded
to be having
1. No dry eye (0–1)
2. Dry eye suspect (2)
3. Mild dry eye (3–8)
4. Moderate dry eye (9–13)
5. Severe dry eye (14–18)
Routine and specific blood investigation for diabetes and
thyroid dysfunction was done. RA factor was done in patients
suspected of having Sjogren’s syndrome.
Result
This study was carried out on 1178 patients selected
consecutively from outdoor and those admitted in Department of Ophthalmology, Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Rewa
between July 2007 and October 2009. Of the 1178 patients,
114 patients were found to have dry eye.
The age of patients ranged from 21 years to more than
51 years. We observed that the prevalence of dry eye increased
with increasing age with maximum number (n=40; 35.0%) of
dry eye patients belonging to the age group of more than
51 years. There were 38 men (33.4%) and 76 women (66.6%)
and most of the patients (n = 69; 60.5%) belonged to rural
background.
Occupation wise, farmers/laborers (n = 38; 33.4%) were
most affected followed by factory workers (n = 19; 16.6%),
office workers/shop keepers (n = 17; 14.9%), homemakers/
students (n = 15; 13.2%), others with high exposure (n = 14;
12.3%), and those with low exposure (n = 11; 9.6%) (Table 1).
Attributable risk factors for dry eye in this study in order
of decreasing frequency were air pollution (33.3%), sunlight/
high temperature (16.6%), smoking (14.9%), drugs (14.9%),
and others (20.3%) (Table 2). Hypermetropes were affected
more (48.2%), followed by myopes (37.7%), then emmetropes
(14.1%) (Table 3).
Foreign body sensation (84.2%), photophobia (37.7%),
and mucous discharge (35.0%) were the most common complaints followed by burning (30.7%), ocular fatigue (30.7%),
blurred vision (20.1%), itching (18.2%), pain (11.4%), dryness
of eye (9.6%) and redness (7.8%), watering (6.1%), heavy
sensation (4.3% ), and discomfort (2.6%) (Table 4).
International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health | 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue 11
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Choudhary et al.: Dry eye and attributable risk factors
Table 1: Association of occupational risk factors with dry eye
S. No
Occupational groups
2
Other with low exposure
1
Number of dry eye (%)
Home maker/Student
3
15 (13.2%)
11 (9.6%)
Farmer/laborer
4
38 (33.4%)
Office worker/shopkeeper
5
17 (14.9%)
Others with high exposure
6
14 (12.3%)
Factory workers
19 (16.6%)
Total
114 (100.0)
Table 2: Strength of association of environmental exposure factors
and drug with dry eye
S. No
Environmental factor
2
Air pollution
1
Number of dry eye (%)
Sunlight/high temperature
3
19 (16.6%)
38 (33.3%)
Smoking
4
17 (14.9%)
Drug
5
17 (14.9%)
Others
6
23 (20.3%)
Total
114 (100%)
Table 3: Association of dry eye as per refractive status
S. No
Status
2
Myopes
1
3
Hypermetropes
Number of dry eye (%)
Emmetropes
Total
55 (48.2%)
43 (37.7%)
16 (14.1%)
114 (100%)
Table 4: Distribution of cases according to symptoms
S. No.
Symptoms
1
Foreign body sensation
3
Non sticky mucous discharge
2
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Photophobia
Burning or stinging sensation
Ocular fatigue
Temporary blurred vision
Itching
Pain
Dry sensation
Redness
Watering
Heavy sensation
Discomfort
No. of
cases
Percentage
43
37.7
96
84.2
40
35.0
35
35
23
21
13
11
9
7
5
3
30.7
30.7
20.1
18.2
11.4
9.6
7.8
6.1
4.3
2.6
Most common signs were conjunctival congestion and
presence of mucous thread in all the cases (Table 5). In this
study most of the patients had dry eye of moderate grade
(43.8%) followed by mild (39.6%) and severe (16.6%) (Table 6).
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International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health | 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue 11
Most of cases had dry eye due to vitamin A deficiency
(19.4%), followed by secondary Sjogren’s syndrome (15.0%),
idiopathic (12.4%), Stevens–Johnson’s syndrome (10.5%),
primary Sjogren’s syndrome (7%), chronic blepharitis (7%),
lid abnormality (7%), contact lens users (6.1%), postoperative
patients (6.1%), diabetes (5.2%), and corneal anesthesia
induced dry eye (4.3%) (Table 7).
Discussion
The morbidity associated with dry eyes is related to
changes in ocular surface, giving rise to a spectrum of clinical
abnormalities encompassing superficial punctate erosions,
corneal filaments, coarse mucus plaques, epithelial defects
and in severe cases, melting corneal ulcers.
This clinical study was carried out in 1178 patients, consecutively from outdoor and those admitted in Department of
Ophthalmology, Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Rewa (MP) from
July 2007 to October 2009. Of these, 114 patients were found
to have dry eye.
In our study, we found that prevalence of dry eye in
eastern Madhya Pradesh was 9.6%. The prevalence rate in
previous studies was variable in different studies like Doughty
et al.,[4] reported a prevalence rate 9.4%, Albietz[5] 10.8%,
Moss et al.[6] 14.5%, and Sahai and Mallik[7] 18.4%. The vast
disparity in range of dry eye prevalence stems mainly from
the different dry eye diagnostic criteria employed and different
cut off values for objective dry eye tests. Much of this disparity
was probably because of no standardization of types of
patients selected.
Prevalence of dry eye was found to be quite high in
4th to 6th decade (35.0%). Hikichi et al.[3] reported the highest
prevalence of 17% and Sahai and Mallik[7] documented the
highest prevalence of 36.1% in this age group in their studies
and they concluded increasing prevalence of dry eye with
increasing age was due to decreased lacrimal production with
advancing age.
Most of the studies revealed a higher prevalence of dry
eye in women than men. Our study was no exception, 66.6%
(76/114) patients with dry eye were women against 33.3%
(38/114) men. Increased prevalence of dry eye in women
was also reported by Sahai and Mallik.[7] The possible
explanation for women preponderance is that the menopause
causes estrogen deficiency and a consequent change in the
local hormonal milieu of the lacrimal gland, which is thought
to decrease tear production and increase the occurrence of
dry eye in women.
Our finding of increased dry eye prevalence (60.5%) in
rural than urban (39.5%), and in farmers and laborers (33.4%)
is in accordance with Sahai and Malik (2005).[7] They also found
increased prevalence of dry eye in rural residents (41.8%)
than urban (58.2%), and in farmers and laborers (25.3%).
This was a direct consequence of the overwhelming exposure of rural residents, largely farmers and manual laborers,
to sunlight, high temperature, and excessive wind.
Choudhary et al.: Dry eye and attributable risk factors
Table 5: Distribution of eyes according to signs
Grade of dry eye
Signs
Mild
No. of eyes
Conjunctival congestion
Mucous thread
Ulcer/Opacity
Superficial vascularization
Circumcillary congestion
52
2
3
Total
114
100
0
0%
36
69.2
11
78.5
47
41.2
20
37
6
42.8
26
22.8
10
20%
5
10%
1
0
52
17
0%
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
4
28.5
0
11
9.6
10
20%
0
0
0
0
10
8.7
2
4%
0
0
0
0
2
1.7
No. of eyes
Percentage
90
39.6
38
16.6
100
43.8
228
100
No. of
cases
Percentage
17
15.0
19.4
Idiopathic dry eye syndrome
14
12.4
Primary Sjogren’s syndrome
8
7.0
Stevens–Johnson syndrome
Chronic Blepheritis
Lid abnormality
Contact lens users
Postoperative patients
Corneal anesthesia induced
dry eye
12
8
8
7
7
6
5
114
10.5
7.0
7.0
6.1
6.1
5.2
4.3
100
Smoking, air population, sunlight, and drugs have been
suggested as risk factors for dry eye. This study demonstrated
that dry eye was more prevalent in patients with more
exposure to air pollution (33.3%), smoking (14.9%), sunlight
(16.6%), and drugs (14.9%). These findings are consistent
19
29.8
0
9.6
28.5
34
100
19.2
5
4
50
114
10
0%
22
Total
7
100
2%
0
Secondary Sjogren’s
syndrome
Diabetes
32.6
14
19.2
Severe dry eye (14–18)
Vitamin A deficiency
100
10
Table 7: Possible etiological diagnosis of cases
2
14
100
Moderate dry eye (9–13)
1
Total (%)
14
Mild dry eye (3–8)
Etiological diagnosis
Total no.
of eyes
100
Grade of dry eye
(Score)
S. No.
Percentage
52
100%
Table 6: Distribution of eyes according to grading of dry eye
1
Severe
100%
48
Ectropion
S. No.
Percentage
48
Trichiasis and Entropion
Crust, waxy scales over lid
margin
Moderate
48
Loss of luster of cornea
and conjunctiva
Epithelial and mucous
filaments
Percentage
9
16.6
7.8
with observations of Moss et al.[6], Sahai and Malik[7]. Smoking
predisposes the eye to tear film instability by its direct irritant
action on the eye and represents a modifiable risk factor in
dry eye concentration and drugs too may disrupt one or more
components of the tear film causing it to become unstable.
Gupta et al.[8] in their study found that air pollution (24%) over
a long period of time increases the prevalence of dry eye
because it causes tear film abnormalities. In our study we
found that air pollution is the most common attributable risk
factors for dry eye and our findings matched with them.
In our study we found that dry eye was more prevalent in patients with refractive errors, with 48.2% being
hypermetropes and 37.7% being myopes. Only 14.1%
patients in this study were emmetropic. Our finding of
increased dry eye prevalence in uncorrected refractive errors
as compared to emmetropes is consistent with observation by
Moss et al.,[6] Albietz,[5] Sahai and Mallik,[7] who found a higher
prevalence of dry eye in hypermetropes (22.9%) and myopes
(16.8%) compared to emmetropes (14%). It is postulated
that persons with refractive errors have increased tendency
to rub their eyes and apart from the introduction of infective
material, sebum and sweat could cause the lodgment of
particulate foreign substance into the eyes that predispose to
tear film instability.
This study shows that foreign body sensation (84.2%),
photophobia (37.7%), and mucous discharge (35%) to be the
most common complaints of patients with dry eye, followed
by burning (30.7%), fatigue (30.7%), blurred vision (20.1%),
itching (18.2%), pain (11.4%), dryness of eyes (9.6%) and
redness (7.8%), watering (6.1%), heavy sensation (4.3%),
and discomfort (2.6%).
Sahai and Mallik[7] in their study found discharge (39.9%)
to be the most common complaint, followed by grittiness
(31.5%), irritation (29.5%), burning (28.4%), tiredness (28%),
International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health | 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue 11
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Choudhary et al.: Dry eye and attributable risk factors
transient blurring of vision (27%), itching (22.3%), and photophobia (5%).
In our study conjunctival congestion and mucous thread
were found in all patients and in all grades. In the present
series ulcer/opacity was found in 41.2%, superficial vascularization in 29.8%, circumciliary congestion in 22.8%, loss
of luster of cornea and conjunctiva in 16.6%, trichiasis and
entropion in 9.6%, epithelial and mucous filaments in 7.8%,
crusting and waxy scales over lid margin in 8.7%, and ectropion in 1.7% eyes.
Lemp,[1] Nelson,[10] Khurana et al.,[3] Tabbara and
Wagoner[11] described staging of dry eye into different grades.
We have followed the scoring system of Khurana et al.[3] in
our study to classify eyes into mild, moderate, and severe
dry eyes. We had 100 eyes (43.8%) with moderate grade,
90 eyes (39.6%) with mild grade, and 38 eyes (16.6%) with
severe grade dry eyes in our study.
We have not performed tear function index, tear clearance
test because of lack of these facilities at our institute. Also
due to unavailability of proper laboratory facilities we have
not been able to do certain specific investigations such as
conjunctival biopsy and immunologic serum antibody testing.
Etiological diagnosis in our series was as follows: 22 cases
of vitamin A deficiency, 17 cases of secondary Sjogren’s
syndrome, 14 cases of idiopathic dry eye syndrome, 12 cases
of Stevens–Johnson syndrome, 8 cases of primary Sjogren’s
syndrome, 8 cases chronic blepheritis, 8 cases lid abnormality,
7 cases contact lens users, 7 cases of postoperative patients,
6 cases of diabetes, and 5 cases dry eye due to corneal anesthesia induced. Similar possible etiologies were mentioned by
Holly and Lemp,[12] Lemp,[5] and Tabbara and Wagoner.[11]
Five patients with dry eye due to corneal anesthesia as
a result of trigeminal nerve involvement also had dry eye in
contra lateral eye. There can be three explanations for this.
First perhaps patients who develop neurotrophic keratitis
have an underlying dry eye condition that when accompanied
by decrease in ‘reflex’ tear production from lacrimal gland
on involved side progresses to clinical disease. Another
possibility is that there is crossed sensory stimulation of tear
production and loss of sensory input on one side, which
results in decreased aqueous tear production bilaterally with
less depression on contra lateral side. A third possibility is that
there is increased tear film evaporation in both eyes as a result
of reduced blink rate from depressed sensory neural input.
Conclusion
Diagnosis of dry eye is often overlooked as a possible
cause of patient’s complaint. Therefore detecting disease at
the earliest stage and prevention of attributable risk factors for
1560
International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health | 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue 11
dry eye alluded to in literature include air pollution, cigarette
smoking, low humidity, high temperature, sunlight exposure,
drugs, and uncorrected refractive error should be the goal so
that disease progression to severe stage and serious sight
threatening complications caused by severe dry eye could
be prevented. Thus prevention of attributable risk factors and
early diagnosis could be the key for dry eye and offers good
hope for better outcome.
References
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Lemp MA. Report of National Eye Institute/Industry workshop on
clinical trials in dry eye. CLAOJ 1995;221–32.
2.Hikichi T, Yoshida A, Fukui Y, Hamano T, Ri M, Araki K, et al:.
Prevalence of dry eye in Japanese eye centers. Graefes Arch
Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1995;233:559–62.
3.
Khurana AK, Chaudhary R, Ahluwalia BK. A new criteria to
diagnose and grade dry eye. India Ophthalmology Today
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4.Doughty MJ, Fonn D, Richter D, Simpson T, Caffery B, Gordon KD.
A patient questionnaire approach to estimating the prevalence of
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across Canada. Optom Vis Sci 1997;74(8):624–31.
5.Albietz JM. Prevalence of dry eye subtypes in clinical optometry
practice. Optom Vis Sci 2000;77:357–63.
6.Moss SC, Ronald Klien MA, Borbara EK et al. Prevalence of dry
eye syndrome. Arch Oph 2000;118:1264–8.
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Sahai A, Malik P. Dry eye: prevalence and attributable risk
factors in a hospital based population. India J Ophthalmol 2005;
53:87–91.
8.Gupta SK, Gupta V, Joshi S, Tandon R. Sunclinically dry eyes
in urban Delhi: an impact of air pollution? Ophthalmologica
2002;216:368–71.
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Lemp MA. Recent development in dry eye management.
Ophthalmology 1987;94:1299–1304.
10.
Nelson JD. Dry eye syndromes. In: Current Diagnosis and
Management, Current Practice in Ophthalmology, Schachat
AP, Jampel HD (Eds.). London: Mosby, 1992. pp. 49–66.
11.
Tabbara KF, Wagoner MD. Diagnosis and management of dry
eye syndrome. Int Ophthalmol Clin 1996;36(2):61–75.
12.Holly FJ, Lemp MA. Tear physiology and dry eyes. Surv Ophthalmol 1977;22(2):69–87.
How to cite this article: Choudhary P, Chalisgaonkar C,
Lakhtakia S, Dwivedi A, Kain S. Dry eye prevalence and
attributable risk factors in the eastern Madhya Pradesh. Int J
Med Sci Public Health 2015;4:1556-1560
Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None declared.

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