Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Dry Eye in Korean Adults: A Study Based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2010-2011

Korean J Fam Med. 2017 Mar;38(2):81-85. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.2017.38.2.81. Epub 2017 Mar 22.


Background: Dry eye is a common disease. Many patients continue to experience residual symptoms despite optimal treatment. Thus, new treatment options are required. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and dry eye.

Methods: This study was performed using data from the fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is a cross-sectional study of the Korean population that was conducted from 2010 to 2011. We included adults aged >19 years who underwent ophthalmologic interviews and examinations. We excluded subjects who had comorbid conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, chronic kidney disease, or depression) that are associated with dry eye. The subjects were divided into normal and dry eye groups. The dry eye group consisted of those who had clinically diagnosed dry eye syndrome or symptoms. Multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the association between serum 25(OH)D levels and dry eye.

Results: In the univariate model, the 25(OH)D levels were lower in the dry eye group than in the normal group (P=0.01). A significant association was found between severe vitamin D deficiency (<10 ng/mL) and dry eye (P=0.04). However, after multivariate adjustment, the statistical significance of the association disappeared (P-values= 0.49, vitamin D insufficiency; P=0.33, vitamin D deficiency; P=0.18, severe vitamin D deficiency).

Conclusion: Severe vitamin D deficiency was associated with dry eye in an unadjusted model, but the association was not statistically significant after adjustment.

Keywords: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D; Dry Eye; Dry Eye Syndromes; Vitamin D.