June 8, 2009

4 percent of older U.S. men have dry eye

An estimated 4 percent of older U.S. men suffer from dry eye, which can cause eye infections and bothersome symptoms, U.S. researchers said.

Debra A. Schaumberg of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues estimated the prevalence of and examined risk factors for dry eye disease among 25,444 U.S. men who participated in the Physicians' Health Study I and II.

Overall, 3 percent reported being diagnosed with dry eye, 6.8 percent experienced at least one symptom of dryness or irritation constantly and 2.2 percent reported both symptoms constantly or often.

The total age-standardized prevalence of dry eye disease among men 50 and older was estimated to be 4.34 percent.

The prevalence of dry eye increased from 3.9 percent among men ages 50- 54 to 7.7 percent among men age 80 and older.

High blood pressure, benign prostatic hyperplasia -- a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate -- and the use of medications to treat depression, hypertension or hyperplasia were also associated with an increased risk of dry eye disease, Schaumberg said.

The findings were published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.