The Features of Dry Eye Disease in a Japanese Elderly Population

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Abstract

Purpose.

The purpose of this study is to assess the features of dry eye disease in a Japanese elderly population.

Methods.

One hundred thirteen left eyes of 113 pensioners (50 males, 63 females; mean age, 67.5 ± 5.7 years) aged over 60 years were recruited in this study. The subjects underwent careful slit-lamp examinations of the conjunctiva, ocular surface, and the eye lids. Tear film breakup time (BUT) examinations, Schirmer test-I, and fluorescein staining of the ocular surface and transillumination of the eyelids were also performed. Dry eye symptomatology was assessed with a symptom questionnaire. Japanese Dry Eye Diagnostic Criteria were used in this study.

Results.

Ocular tiredness, irritation, dryness, and foreign body sensation were the most frequently reported symptoms by the patients. A total of 73.5% of the eyes had definite dry eyes. A total of 39.8% of the eyes had a Schirmer test reading <5 mm. Mean Schirmer test value was 9.4 ± 7.8 mm. The mean BUT score was 4.0 ± 2.8 seconds. A total of 76.9% of the eyes had positive fluorescein staining of the cornea. Meibomian gland dysfunction and conjunctivochalasis were found as frequent factors in relation to dry eye disease with meibomian grand dropout showing positive correlation with tear instability.

Conclusion.

Qualitative and quantitative disorders of the tear film were far more common than recognized in this population of elderly subjects, meibomian gland dysfunction being the most common associate of the tear film disorder and dry eye status. Conjunctivochalasis (conjunctival laxity), although commonly associated with dry eye disease in the elderly, was observed not to be related to age or gender in this study.

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