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BMC Ophthalmol. 2008 Jun 2;8:10. doi: 10.1186/1471-2415-8-10.

Prevalence of dry eye syndrome and diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetic patients.

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Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Yazd Diabetes Research Center, Yazd, Iran.



This study was performed to assess the prevalence of dry eye syndrome and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in type 2 diabetic patients and their contributing factors.


199 type 2 diabetic patients referred to Yazd Diabetes Research Center were consecutively selected. All Subjects were assessed by questionnaire about other diseases and drugs. Dry eye syndrome was assessed with Tear break up time tests and Schirmer. All the subjects underwent indirect ophthalmoscopy and retinal color photography. DR was graded according to early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy (ETDRS) criteria.


Of 199 subjects, 108 patients (54.3%) suffer from dry eye syndrome. Although dry eye syndrome was more common in older and female patients, this association was not significant. But there was significantly association between dry eye syndrome and duration of diabetes (P = 0.01). Dry eye syndrome was more frequent in diabetic patients with DR (P = 0.02). DR was found in 140 patients (70.35%), which included 34 patients (17.1%) with mild non proliferative DR (NPDR), 34 patients (17.1%) with moderate NPDR, 22 patients (11.1%) with severe NPDR and 25 patients (25.1%) with proliferative DR (PDR). There were significant relation between age, sex and duration of diabetes and DR.


In this study the prevalence of dry eye syndrome was 54.3%. Diabetes and dry eyes appear to have a common association. Further studies need to be undertaken to establish an etiologic relationship. However, examination for dry eye should be an integral part of the assessment of diabetic eye disease.

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