May 21, 2014
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Dry eye has insignificant effect on reading speed among seniors

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Dry eye did not significantly reduce reading speed but was associated with difficulty reading newsprint among seniors, according to a large study.

The Salisbury Eye Evaluation (SEE), a population-based study of elderly residents of Salisbury, MD, included 1,981 subjects with complete reading and dry eye assessment data.

Investigators used a questionnaire and objective testing modalities to assess dry eye and measured the speed at which subjects read short text passages aloud; 13.8% of subjects had dry eye, and 3.1% had clinically significant dry eye.

Average reading speed was 171 words per minute for subjects with dry eye and 169 words per minute for those without dry eye.

Average reading speed was 174 words per minute for subjects with clinically significant dry eye and 170 words per minute for controls without signs or symptoms. The between-group differences were statistically insignificant.

Subjects with dry eye were significantly more likely to report difficulty reading (P < .01) and not reading newsprint (P = .04) than those without symptoms.

Subjects with clinically significant dry eye were also more likely to have difficulty reading newsprint or not read newsprint (both P < .01) than those without signs or symptoms.

Disclosure: Esen K. Akpek, MD, has received an institutional research grant from Allergan. The remaining authors have no relevant financial disclosures.