This study sought to estimate the prevalence and associated risk factors of symptomatic dry eye in the general non-clinical Ghanaian population.
This was a cross-sectional population-based study conducted from November 2019 to February 2020. A stratified, multistage, random sampling technique was used to select participants aged 18 years and above from the capital cities of eight administrative regions in Ghana. Symptomatic dry eye was assessed using the Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire (OSDI). A study specific structured questionnaire was administered to collect information on participants’ demographics and self-reported risk factors of dry eye disease such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, ocular allergies, pregnancy, contact lens wear, use of topical glaucoma medication and multivitamin supplement. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to explore associations between symptomatic dry eye and participant characteristics. A p-value of 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
A total of 1316 individuals participated in the study [mean (SD) age 37.0 (15.72) years; range 18-90 years; 50.2 % males]. The prevalence of symptomatic dry eye was 69.3 % [95 % CI: 66.7 % – 71.7 %; mean (SD) OSDI score of 26.97 (21.52)]: 19.8 %, 16.6 % and 32.9 % mild, moderate and severe symptoms respectively. The most common ocular symptom was sensitivity to light (experienced at least some of the time), reported by 67.1 % of participants; most affected vision-related activity was reading (49.3 %); most common environmental trigger of dry eye symptoms was windy conditions (61.3 %). There was a significant positive association between symptomatic dry eye and age (p < .0001), female sex (p = .026), arthritis (p = .031), ocular surface allergy (p = .036) and regional zone (p = .043).
There is a high prevalence of dry eye symptoms in Ghana. This represents a high dry eye disease burden and a significant public health problem that needs immediate attention.