Purpose: To assess the prevalence of lacrimal dysfunction during pregnancy comparing it to non-pregnant women and to correlate these findings with obstetric history.
Methods: We interviewed 150 pregnant and 150 non-pregnant women for symptoms of dry eyes and obstetric history. Both groups underwent Schirmer I testing and responded to a questionnaire on dry eye symptoms. Patients with collagen diseases, medications associated with dryness of mucous membranes, hepatitis C infection and AIDS, previous intraocular inflammation and eye surgery were excluded. Data were analyzed by the Χ2 and Fisher tests when the data were nominal and by the Student´s t-test and Mann-Whitney test when numerical. The level of significance was set at 5%.
Results: The two groups did not differ in symptoms of lacrimal dysfunction. The results of Schirmer's test were equal in both groups for the right eye (p=0.3) and left eye (p=0.3). However, pregnant women had a higher prevalence of at least one dry eye (p=0.004). The occurrence of dry eye in both groups (patients and controls) was associated with a greater number of full-term pregnancies/patient (p=0.04) but not with pregnancy time (p=0.5) or number of abortions (p=0.9).
Conclusions: Pregnant women suffer more from lacrimal dysfunction than non pregnant women; in both groups the prevalence of tear dysfunction is more elevated in women with higher parity.