Dry Eye Syndrome adds to problems with everyday activities

November 12, 2012

Dry Eye Syndrome adds to problems with everyday activities

Research suggests that reading, working and driving are all more difficult with dry eye syndrome

A study has confirmed what many people are already aware of, dry eye syndrome causes vision to become impaired causing reading, working, driving, using a computer or watching television to become much more difficult.

The researchers from the division of preventive medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston investigated 240 men and 450 women and about 33% had dry eye symptoms. These symptoms can show themselves as eye irritation, fatigue, dryness and cause visual disturbances. The condition is common but not normally serious and it is caused by a shortage in the number of tears and the quality of them.

All of the women were at least 49 years old and professionals within the healthcare sector. They signed up with the Women’s Health Study. The men were all doctors and were at least 55 years old, they were part of the Physicians’ Health Study, which is a long-term research project involving male doctors in the United States.

The participants had to score the degree of difficulty their eye problems introduced into their lives when certain activities were carried out. The activities were, working, watching television, reading, using computers and driving, both during the day and at night.

The researchers who included Debra Schaumberg, ScD, OD, MPH, found that the participants most prone to cite that eye problems caused issues were those with dry eye syndrome. The results did not change even after other factors such as high blood pressure, age and diabetes were all taken into account. These factors are all known to add to eye problems.

Researchers also noted that the participants who did not use artificial tears were about twice as likely to report issues with everyday actions as those who used artificial tears.

The study received a grant which partly financed the research from Pfizer Consumer Health Care, which produces many healthcare products including eye drops and artificial tears. The report can be seen in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

In the case for transparency, Schaumberg and another researcher declare that they have received funds for research, and have consulted for, or are on the scientific advisory boards of pharmaceutical and eye care companies.

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