A team of Chinese researchers sought to evaluate the prevalence and clinical characteristics of dry eye disease (DED) in community-based type 2 diabetes patients and identify factors associated with DED. They found that patients with poor metabolic control were more likely to present with DED, making it critical to incorporate dry eye examinations into routine diabetes screenings.

The Beixinjing Eye Study evaluated 1,360 randomly selected type 2 diabetes patients. All participants were given a questionnaire that assessed basic information and subjective symptoms. DED was diagnosed using revised Japanese DED diagnostic criteria, and diabetic retinopathy was graded according to the international severity scale of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. All participants underwent a routine ophthalmic examination, a corneal sensitivity test, a tear film break-up time test, a Schirmer I test, fluorescein and lissamine green staining and fundus photography.

The researchers found that of the 1,360 patients, 238 (17.5%) were diagnosed with DED. They note that there was a significant association between the presence of DED and higher blood glucose and higher levels of glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. The team adds that corneal sensitivity was negatively correlated with the prevalence of DED.

Zou X, Lu L, Xu Y, et al. Prevalence and clinical characteristics of dry eye disease in community-based type 2 diabetic patients: the Beixinjing Eye Study. BMC Ophthalmol. 2018;18(1).