Dry eye prevalence high in rural India, but modifiable risk factors can be addressed
HYDERABAD, India — Dry eye is a common condition in the population of rural India, according to a study, which also discussed modifiable risk factors that could be addressed to decrease prevalence and prevent sight-threatening complications.
“We investigated the presence of dry eye by Schirmer’s test and [tear breakup time] in the rural population aged 40 years or older in district Gurgaon, state of Haryana. Of the 2,427 individuals with age 40+, 2,014 participated in the study,” Noopur Gupta, MD, said here at the joint meeting of the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and All India Ophthalmological Society.
A dry eye prevalence of 27% was found, with a significant age-related increase and a slightly higher rate in women.
“The most common symptoms were the classic burning sensation and blurred vision. Severity was mild to moderate in the majority of cases,” Gupta said.
When analyzing risk factors, a strong correlation was found with refractive error, present in 77% of the people affected. A significant correlation was also found with the exposure to indoor kitchen smoke, when wood was used a fuel.
“Measures directed against these modifiable risk factors and early detection of dry eye conditions may provide a positive impact on public health and improve the quality of life of a large percentage of the rural population,” Gupta said.
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