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Ophthalmology. 2003 Jun;110(6):1096-101.

Prevalence of dry eye among an elderly Chinese population in Taiwan: the Shihpai Eye Study.

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Department of Ophthalmology, National Yang Ming University and Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan.



To describe the epidemiology of dry eye in an elderly Chinese population in Taipei, Taiwan.


A population-based cross-sectional study.


The Shihpai Eye Study was a population-based survey of eye diseases in the elderly (> or =65 years) in Shihpai, Taipei, Taiwan. Noninstitutionalized residents, as of July 1999, were identified by using the official household registration database. A total of 2045 subjects were selected, and 1361 (66.6%) people participated in the study. Among them, 822 (60.4%) were men.


Trained interviewers administered a standardized questionnaire pertaining to dry-eye symptoms. Objective examinations of dry eye included tear film breakup time, Schirmer test, fluorescein stain of the cornea, and anatomic assessment of the meibomian glands via slit-lamp biomicroscopy.


Frequency of dry-eye symptoms and positive dry-eye tests.


In this population, 33.7% (459/1361) were symptomatic, defined as reporting 1 or more dry-eye symptoms often or all of the time. Women were more likely to report frequent symptoms of dry eye (odds ratio, 1.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-1.87). Among those who were symptomatic, 78.9% (362/459) had a low tear film breakup time (< or =10 seconds), 62.5% (287/459) had a low Schirmer test result (< or =5 mm), and 61.7% (283/459) had abnormal anatomic features of the meibomian glands. Furthermore, 85.4% (392/459) were symptomatic and had either a low Schirmer score or an abnormal meibomian gland assessment. Of those symptomatic, 49.9% (229/459) indicated that they had visited an eye doctor, 5.4% (25/459) responded that they had been diagnosed with dry eye, and 47.5% (218/459) reported current use of eyedrops.


This is the first report of population-based data of dry eye that includes symptoms and signs in elderly Asians. The prevalence of dry eye, although varied according to definition, is relatively higher in this study than that reported for whites. Further studies are needed to determine whether this is due to racial or environmental factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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