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Optometry. 2006 Nov;77(11):554-8.

Self-reported dry eyes and diabetic history.

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Dry eyes and diabetes have been linked in previous studies. However, the connection between a family history of diabetes and self-reported dry eyes needs to be explored. Patients with self-reported dry eyes were screened for self-reported diabetes or a family history of diabetes.


A total of 392 patients were given a simple questionnaire about diabetic history and asked to categorize their level of discomfort owing to ocular dryness as none, trace, mild, moderate, or severe (scored as 0 to 4).


A total of 34.4% (135 of 392) of the sample had some self-reported symptom of dryness, 29.8% (117 of 392) could be considered clinically relevant (mild, moderate or severe), 7.4% (29 of 392) reported that they had diabetes, and 35.7% (140 of 392) reported a positive family history for diabetes. A total of 52.9% of those with either diabetes or borderline diabetes had self-reported clinically relevant dry eyes. A total of 35.7% of those patients with a family history of diabetes and 25.6% with no family history had self-reported clinically relevant dry eyes. The patients-with-diabetes group had a median dryness score of 2 (mild) and nondiabetics had a score of 0 (none). For both those with a diabetic family history and for those with no history of diabetes, the median dryness score was 0 (none). However, the dryness score distributions for those patients with a family history of diabetes and those patients with no family history of diabetes were significantly different (P = 0.031); those with a family history tended to have higher dryness scores. The distributions of dryness scores of the diabetic and nondiabetic groups were also significantly different (P = 0.0076).


Patients in this study who self-reported diabetes were found to have higher levels of dryness than those without diabetes. Patients with a family history of diabetes also had a greater tendency to report dry eyes in this cohort. These results are consistent with earlier reports of a link between diabetes and dry eye disease and identify diabetes as another aspect of family history that may be relevant to risk for dry eyes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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