To explore the presence of microvascular endothelial dysfunction as a measure for early cardiovascular disease in individuals diagnosed with dry eye disease (DED) as compared to age-matched normal controls.
Systemic blood pressure, Body Mass Index, intraocular pressure, blood levels of glucose (GLUC), triglycerides, cholesterol (CHOL), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)] as well as retinal and peripheral microvascular function were assessed in twenty-five 35-50 year olds with diagnosed with DEDa (using the TFOS DEWS II criteria) and 25 age and sex-matched controls.
After controlling all the influential covariates, individuals diagnosed with DED exhibited significant lower retinal artery baseline (p = 0.027), artery maximum diameter (p = 0.027), minimum constriction (p = 0.039) and dilation amplitude (p = 0.029) than controls. In addition, the time to reach the vein maximum diameter was significantly longer in the DED patients than in normal controls (p = 0.0052). Only in individuals diagnosed with DED, artery maximum constriction correlated statistically significantly and positively with HDL-C blood levels (p = 0.006). Similarly, artery slope correlated positively with T-CHOL and LDL-C (p = 0.006 & 0.011 respectively). Additionally, artery baseline diameter and maximum constriction were significantly and negatively correlated to T-CHOL/HDL-C ratio (p = 0.032 and p = 0.013 respectively) in DED individuals only.
Individuals with positive diagnosis of DED exhibit abnormal retinal microvascular function and possible higher risk for CVD.