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    Study: Dry eye may not worsen over time

    Dry eye disease (DED) has long been thought to be a progressive condition, but a study published in Ophthalmology found that most of its participants who were diagnosed with DED reported no change or some level of improvement.

    For the study, researchers used a combination of self-reported patient information and review of medical records to assess the natural history of DED among a group of men and women with an average duration of DED of 10.5 and 14.5 years, respectively. The majority of participants recalled little or no change in ocular surface symptoms, vision-related symptoms, or the social impact of DED since diagnosis, and a similar number described an improvement as reported worsening. 

    More dry eye: Why you’re missing the dry eye right in front of you

    But the study raised more questions than it answered for many dry-eye experts.

    “Does DED progress, and how quickly? This study doesn’t clarify it for me,” says Optometry Times blogger Leslie O’Dell, OD, FAAO. “It does however demonstrate the need to further study this idea using repeatable clinical data in addition to patient symptoms. It also pushes me to be more consistent in my own charting for patients using Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) criteria and utilizing the same testing from one visit to the next in order to determine when treatments are effective and if disease is progressing despite my efforts.”

    Blog: Dry eye should remain in the hands of eyecare providers

    Next: The study details—and limitations

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...


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