A team of researchers from Ghana suggests that as dry eye becomes more severe, patients suffer from a declining quality of life and worsening psychosomatic symptoms, specifically depressive symptoms.

In this clinic-based, cross-sectional study, 211 patients aged 16 to 35 completed three questionnaires: the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), a short version of the depression, anxiety and stress scale (DASS-21) and the Dry Eye Quality of Life Score (DEQS). The researchers evaluated meibomian gland expression, corneal staining and tear breakup time and conducted Schirmer 1 testing. They then used statistical analysis to determine the relationship between variables. 

The team found a statistically significant association between OSDI scores and DEQS and DASS-21 subscale scores. They note, however, the only statistically significant correlation between clinical test results and DEQS or DASS-21 subscale scores concerned anxiety subscale scores and meibomian gland expression scores OSDI scores correlated with tear breakup time and had a significant effect on DASS-21 subscale scores. When subjects were classified according to the OSDI scores, the team concludes there was a statistically significant difference between all levels of severity of dry eye symptoms for the DEQS.

Asiedu K, Dzasimatu SK, Kyei S. Impact of dry eye on psychosomatic symptoms and quality of life in a healthy youthful clinical sample. Eye Cont Lens. August 20, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].