Prevalence and associations of dry eye syndrome in an older population: the Blue Mountains Eye Study

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2003 Jun;31(3):229-32. doi: 10.1046/j.1442-9071.2003.00634.x.


This report describes the prevalence of self-reported dry eye syndrome and associations with systemic and ocular factors in an older Australian population. Participants of the Extension Blue Mountains Eye Study, aged 50 or older (mean age 60.8 years, n = 1174) completed a comprehensive eye examination and dry eye questionnaire. At least one dry eye symptom was reported by 57.5% of participants, with 16.6% reporting moderate to severe symptoms, more frequent in women (age-adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-2.2). Three or more symptoms were reported by 15.3% of participants, also more frequent in women (age-adjusted OR 1.7, CI 1.2-2.4). No age-related trends or significant ocular associations were observed. After adjusting for age and sex, systemic factors significantly associated with dry eye syndrome included history of arthritis, asthma, gout, use of corticosteroids, antidepressants and hormone replacement therapy. In this older population, dry eye syndrome was common and has associations with female gender and systemic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution