Patients' perception of DED and its relation with time to diagnosis and quality of life: an international and multilingual survey

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Background/aimsTo improve understanding of patients' experience and perception of dry eye disease (DED) and its impact on quality of life (QoL).MethodsThis survey was observational, non-interventional and cross-sectional. The survey was conducted online on 706 patients with DED from five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK). All patients met the following inclusion criteria: 40 years or older with DED diagnosed by a healthcare professional (HCP), not wearing contact lenses and using tear substitutes daily for at least 6 months. The survey (performed in the five native languages) included 9 screening questions (inclusion criteria) and 26 complementary questions about patients' demography, disease history, DED diagnosis, use of relief treatments, perceptions of DED condition and its impact on QoL.ResultsOverall, 218 of 706 (31%) patients perceived DED as a ‘disease’ or even a ‘handicap’, and 468 of 706 (66%) as a ‘discomfort’. High impact of DED on patients' QoL was associated with negative perception, delay in diagnosis, visits to more than one HCP before diagnosis and high frequency of treatment use. This survey also provided us with a list of language-specific keywords that patients used most frequently to spontaneously describe their condition.ConclusionsFindings showed that negative perception of DED, delayed diagnosis and high frequency of treatment use were inter-related, and that all have a negative impact on patients' QoL. The generated language-specific keywords used to describe DED could serve as the basis for a comprehensive QoL questionnaire to be used in clinical settings.

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