Worse dry eye disease symptoms impair work productivity, activity levels

04 Jun 2021

Worse symptoms of dry eye disease (DED) may lead to decreased work productivity and activity level, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally within person, reveals a study.

In addition, corneal staining and tear film break-up time (TBUT) correlate with interindividual differences but not intraindividual changes in work productivity and activity impairment.

People with moderate to severe DED who enrolled in the multicentre Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) study were included in this longitudinal, observational study within a randomized clinical trial.

Participants completed the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire at 0, 6, and 12 months. They were then evaluated individually for symptoms and signs (ie, conjunctival and corneal staining, TBUT, and Schirmer test) of DED.

The authors generated linear regression models to examine the associations of work productivity and activity impairment with symptoms and signs using generalized estimating equations and controlling for demographics and comorbidities.

A total of 535 individuals were enrolled at baseline, of whom 279 (52 percent) were employed; mean activity impairment was 24.5 percent. Among employed participants, the mean scores for absenteeism, presenteeism, and overall work impairment were 2 percent, 18 percent, and 19.6 percent, respectively.

Of note, higher Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) symptom scores correlated with greater absenteeism, presenteeism, and activity impairment.

Overall work impairment was greater by 4.3 percent and activity impairment by 4.8 percent for each 10-unit difference in OSDI score (p<0.001). Longitudinal increases (worsening) in OSDI scores resulted in greater impairment in work and nonwork-related activity (2.0 percent and 3.1 percent per 10 units in OSDI, respectively; p<0.01).

In addition, worse corneal staining and TBUT correlated with higher overall work impairment and activity level (p≤0.04), but longitudinal changes in these two signs were not associated with changes in work productivity or activity impairment.

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