Dry eye in the beaver dam offspring study: prevalence, risk factors, and health-related quality of life

Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;157(4):799-806. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2013.12.023. Epub 2014 Jan 2.


Purpose: To estimate dry eye prevalence in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS), including a young adult population, and investigate associated risk factors and impact on health-related quality of life.

Design: Cohort study.

Methods: The BOSS (2005-2008) is a study of aging in the adult offspring of the population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study cohort. Questionnaire data on health history, medication use, risk factors, and quality of life were available for 3275 participants. Dry eye was determined by self-report of frequency of symptoms and the intensity of those symptoms. Associations between dry eye and risk factors were analyzed using logistic regression.

Results: The prevalence of dry eye in the BOSS was 14.5%: 17.9% of women and 10.5% of men. In a multivariate model, statistically significant associations were found with female sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33-2.11), current contact lens use (OR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.53-2.64), allergies (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.22-2.08), arthritis (OR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.12-1.85), thyroid disease (OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.02-1.99), antihistamine use (OR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18-2.02), and steroid use (OR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.16-2.06). Dry eye was also associated with lower scores on the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (β = -3.9, P < .0001) as well as on the National Eye Institute 25-Item Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25) (β = -3.4, P < .0001) when controlling for age, sex, and comorbid conditions.

Conclusions: The prevalence of dry eye and its associated risk factors in the BOSS were similar to previous studies. In this study, dry eye was associated with lower quality of life on a health-related quality-of-life instrument and the vision-specific NEI VFQ-25.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Young Adult