Purpose: To determine utilities (patient preferences) for dry eye disease.
Design: Survey study.
Participants: Fifty-six patients with mild, moderate, or severe dry eye treated by ophthalmologists in the Eye Care Services department of Henry Ford Health Care System.
Testing: Patients completed interactive software utility assessment questionnaires by the time trade-off (TTO) method. Utility scores were scaled such that a score of 1.0 = perfect health and 0 = death. Dry eye severity was independently classified using clinical parameters and physician/patient assessments. Global health status, visual functioning, and ocular symptoms were assessed by the Short Form-36 Health Survey, 25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25), and Ocular Surface Disease Index survey instruments.
Main outcome measures: Utility scores for a range of dry eye severity states. These utilities were compared with utilities reported for other disease states. Correlations with the general and vision-related health status measures were conducted.
Results: Fifty-six patients completed the utility assessments with acceptable reliability. Mean utilities for moderate (0.78) and severe dry eye (0.72) by TTO were similar to historical reports for moderate (0.75) and more severe (class III/IV) angina (0.71), respectively. Utility scores correlated with the NEI VFQ-25 composite score (rho = 0.32; P = 0.037) and with components of other health measures.
Conclusions: Utilities for the more severe forms of dry eye are in the range of conditions like class III/IV angina (0.71) that are widely recognized as lowering health utilities. Our results underscore how significantly dry eye impacts patients compared with other medical conditions.