A smartphone app’s crowdfunded research helped identify dry eye and its risk factors, according to a study.
The DryEyeRhythm app, available in Japan and the United States on iOS platforms, collects demographic characteristics, medical history and lifestyle information, as well as daily subjective dry eye symptoms.
This cross-sectional study used data from 4,454 subjects in Japan, 3,294 with risk factors for symptomatic dry eye and 1,160 without symptomatic dry eye; of the 3,294 with risk factors, 899 had diagnosed symptomatic dry eye and 2,395 had undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye. Dry eye symptoms and severity were assessed with a 12-item Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire.
Those with symptomatic dry eye were younger, mostly female individuals with a history of pollinosis. Extended screen exposure, contact lens use, smoking, and mental illnesses other than depression or schizophrenia were also identified as risk factors.
“This study may lead to further understanding of dry eye symptoms and identify at-risk individuals who should be clinically evaluated, potentially improving prevention or early treatment of dry eye disease,” the study authors wrote.
The use of a smartphone app to identify and understand disease is relatively new, but this study could assist in future developments.
“Mobile health technologies could be used for the detection and management of chronic disease as well as for research to advance our understanding of dry eye disease,” the authors wrote.
Adherence rate, which is important in designing research applications, was 45.8%, with 4,454 of 9,729 users participating.
“Developing a user-friendly interface, linking interactive voluntary posting functions to social media, offering feedback functions and other incentives might help to improve study adherence and completion,” the study said. – by Rebecca L. Forand
Disclosures: Inomata reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.