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Clin Ophthalmol. 2019 Jan 25;13:217-224. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S184173. eCollection 2019.

Patient-reported severity of dry eye and quality of life in diabetes.

Author information

School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), Glasgow G4 0BA, UK,
Diabetes Day Centre, University Hospital Ayr, Ayr KA6 6DX, UK.



The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between patient-reported severity of dry eye disease (DED), quality of life (QoL), presence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and length of disease duration in people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2).

Patients and methods:

A survey of 152 people (110 with and 42 without diabetes). All participants completed the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Dry Eye-related Quality of Life Score (DEQS) questionnaires.


Forty-four percent of all diabetic subjects reported dry eye symptoms, compared to 29% in the control group. Patients with DM2 reported dry eye symptoms more frequently than those with DM1 (55% and 27% respectively, P=0.001). Dry eye severity was linked to a significant deterioration in QoL in both types of diabetes (DM1, r=0.609 and P=0.036; DM2, r=0.417 and P=0.011). Irrespective of DR, the presence of DED was significantly higher in DM2 compared to DM1 (with DR, P=0.011; without DR, P=0.018).


Dry eye symptoms are associated with reduced QoL and are more common in people with DM2 than in DM1, irrespective of DR status. Routine clinical screening for severe DED could potentially allow for a timely and more effective treatment and could contribute to mitigating the dry eye-associated reduction in QoL in those with DM2.


dry eye; ocular surface; retinopathy; symptoms

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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