Dry eye disease and depression.

Munir Amjad Baig, Ayesha Mumtaz, Rabeeya Munir


INTRODUCTION: Dry eye disease (DED) is a common health problem. The chronic painful symptoms of DED can cause depression and conversely the anti-depressive medications can themselves cause DED.
Purpose of the study: Purpose was to know the relationship between DED and depressive symptoms in the elderly population of Islamabad.

METHODS: A cross-sectional population-based study of 18 months’ duration was done at eye department, Federal Government Services Hospital, Islamabad. Ethical approval and informed consent were taken from 1600 willing patients aged 38-78 years of both sexes to undergo the study of DE. All patients were assessed in two steps. Initially dry eye questionnaire (DEQ-6) was administered and then DE tests were performed. DE diagnosis was made according to the latest dry eye diagnostic criteria of Japan. During the second step Korean short geriatric depression scale (SGDS-K) was used in all cases, scoring one point for each answer selected. SPSS version 17 was used data analyzed for frequencies/ percentages.

RESULTS: Out of consecutive 1600 patients, 486 (30.3%) subjects were diagnosed as having DED. One hundred and thirty (26.7%) subjects had definite depression with (SGDS-K) scale among DE patients. A common symptom in our study was watering 34.6% and 133 (60%) of females were post-menopausal. The maximum number of DE patients were of older age over 50 years, more men, more living in an urban area, had a higher income and had a lower visual acuity compared to the patients without DED.

CONCLUSION: Patients with dry eyes were more depressed than non-dry eye subjects.


Dry eye disease, depression, dry eye questionnaire, Schirmer’s test

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