Children with dry eye type conditions may report less severe symptoms than adult patients

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 Mar;251(3):791-6. doi: 10.1007/s00417-012-2097-2. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


Background: To compare the symptom scores of children with those of adults with the same degree of mild ocular surface signs.

Methods: This study included patients with at least one ocular surface symptom and sign. Data obtained from 45 subjects aged 8.79 ± 2.95 yr (Mean ± SD) (pediatric group) and 45 adults aged 52.87 ± 10.87 yr (adult group) who were matched to each pediatric patient based on ocular surface signs were analyzed. Demographic data including age and sex; parameters of ocular surface signs including fluorescein staining score, tear film breakup time and Schirmer test score; symptom scores including ocular surface disease index (OSDI) and visual analog scale (VAS) were assessed and compared between the two groups.

Results: Significant differences emerged in sex ratio as well as in age between the two groups (P < 0.001, for both). Regarding ocular surface signs and tear film tests, the study revealed no significant differences in fluorescein staining score (1.44 ± 1.95 vs. 1.40 ± 1.68 P = 0.913), tear film break up time (4.96 ± 1.94 vs. 3.82 ± 1.85 s, P = 0.612) and Schirmer score (12.79 ± 9.05 vs. 10.11 ± 8.45 mm / 5 min, P = 0.370). Regarding dry eye symptoms, both OSDI and VAS were significantly lower in the pediatric group (P = 0.001 and < 0.001, respectively) than in the adult group.

Conclusion: Pediatric patients with mild ocular surface damage may report fewer dry eye symptoms compared to adult patients with similar stages of ocular surface damage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Conjunctival Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Corneal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Eyelid Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Fluorophotometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tears / metabolism


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Fluorescein