March 30, 2020
2 min read

CPAP use linked to higher incidence of dry eye

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ATLANTA – Researchers found that the incidence of dry eye disease was higher in patients using continuous positive airway pressure or nasal mask therapy devices compared with the incidence in the general U.S. population, according to a poster presented here at SECO.

Matossian and colleagues evaluated the real-world incidence of dry eye over the course of 3 years in 330,926 patients with no diagnosis of dry eye in the 12 months prior to device use, according to the poster. Sixty-five percent of patients were male, and the median age was 53 years.

Researchers reported that the incidence was 4% at 1 year, 7.3% at 2 years and 10.3% at 3 years. They also found that it increased with age. At 1 year, the incidence was 1.6% in patients 18 to 24 years old and 11.2% in those at least 75 years old.

Investigators observed diabetes in 22% of those with dry eye, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 18%.

Patients with dry eye were most commonly taking antihypertensives (58.2%), antidepressants (32.5%) and anxiolytics (31.3%).

More women than men had dry eye (5.3% vs. 3%), and the incidence of the condition was higher when patients also had metabolic or inflammatory conditions. At 1 year, 9.1% also had psoriasis, 5.4% also had COPD, 5.3% also had irritable bowel syndrome, 5.1% also had diabetes and 5% also had rheumatoid arthritis.

Co-author Abayomi Ogundele, PharmD, BCMAS, ophthalmology medical head at Sun Pharmaceuticals, told Primary Care Optometry News in an interview at SECO, “It’s important that eye doctors look for dry eye in these patients.”

He said the key take-home points of the study were that the incidence increased over the 3 years of the study and that it was higher in older patients.

“Dry eye tends to be an inflammatory condition,” Ogundele said. “Immunosuppressants may help stop the inflammatory cascade and improve dry eye to improve tear production.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO


Matossian C, et al. Incidence of dry eye disease among patients with continuous positive airway pressure or other nasal mask therapy devices to treat sleep apnea. Presented at: SECO; Atlanta, Ga.; March 4-8, 2020.

Disclosures: Matossian has received consulting fees from Aerie, Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, Bruder, Checked Up, EyePoint, Eyevance, Johnson & Johnson, Kala, Lacriscience, Lenstex, Lumenis, Novartis, Ocular Science, Ocular Therapeutix, Olympic, Quidel, Sun, TearLab, TissueTech and Ziedel; and personal fees from Progressive Tech Training, Stratspey Crown and Veterinarian Recommended Solutions. Ogundele is employed by Sun Pharmaceuticals.