Dry eye symptoms slow work productivity, activity level

18 Nov 2020

Individuals with dry eye disease (DED) are less productive at work and have low activity levels, and the greater the severity of DED symptoms, the lower the productivity and activity, according to data from the Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) study.

DREAM included 535 participants who underwent evaluation for symptoms and signs (conjunctival and corneal staining, tear break-up time, and Schirmer test) of DED. They also completed the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire at 0, 6, and 12 months.

A total of 279 participants (52 percent) were employed, and their mean activity impairment was 24.5 percent. The mean scores were 2 percent for absenteeism, 18 percent for presenteeism, and 19.6 percent for overall work impairment.

Of note, higher Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) symptom scores were tied to absenteeism and activity impairment. Each 10-unit difference in OSDI score correlated with 4.3-percent and 4.8-percent greater overall work and activity impairment, respectively (p<0.001), as well as with 2.0-percent and 3.1-percent increases in impairment in work- and nonwork-related activity, respectively (p<0.01).

Worse corneal staining and tear break-up time also had a negative effect on overall work impairment and activity level (p≤0.04). However, longitudinal changes in these two signs showed no association with changes in work productivity or activity impairment.

The findings further strengthen the evidence that DED symptoms have a negative economic impact, which underscores the importance of initiating efforts to reduce symptoms.

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