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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 May 1;54(5):3666-72. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11635.

Dry eye syndrome, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression in an older male veteran population.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33125, USA.



To evaluate whether veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression have differences in dry eye symptoms and signs compared to a population without these conditions.


Male patients aged ≥50 years with normal eyelid, conjunctival, and corneal anatomy were recruited from the Miami Veterans Affairs Eye Clinic (N = 248). We compared dry eye symptoms (determined by the Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 [DEQ5] score) to tear film indicators obtained by clinical examination (i.e., tear osmolarity, corneal staining, tear breakup time, Schirmer's, meibomian gland quality, orifice plugging, lid vascularity) between patients with PTSD or depression and those without these conditions. Student's t-tests, χ(2) analyses, and linear and logistic regressions were used to assess differences between the groups.


DEQ5 scores were higher in the PTSD (mean = 13.4; standard error [SE] = 1.1; n = 22) and depression (mean = 12.0; SE = 0.8; n = 40) groups compared to the group without these conditions (mean = 9.8; SE = 0.4; n = 186; P < 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively). More patients in the PTSD and depression groups had severe dry eye symptoms, defined as a DEQ5 score ≥ 12 (77% and 63% vs. 41%; P < 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively). No significant differences in tear film indicators were found among the three groups. Multivariable logistic regression indicated that a PTSD diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] = 4.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10-15.14) and use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (OR = 2.66; 95% CI = 1.01-7.00) were significantly associated with severe symptoms.


Patients with PTSD have ocular surface symptoms that are not solely explained by tear indicators. Identifying underlying conditions associated with ocular discomfort is essential to better understand the mechanisms behind ocular pain in dry eye syndrome.


depression; dry eye syndrome; posttraumatic stress disorder; veterans

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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