Dry eye disease (DED) imposes a substantial burden on patients, which can lead to significant economic consequences for society. We provide insights into the DED patient population and DED diagnostic/management practices in Canada, which to date have been inadequately addressed in the literature.
The purpose of this study was to describe DED patient demographic/clinical characteristics alongside DED diagnosis/management in university-based optometry clinics in Canada.
This was a retrospective chart review of nonconcurrent non-Sjögren patients with DED at two university-based optometry clinics in Montreal and Waterloo. Waterloo charts with a diagnosis of DED and all charts from the Montreal dry eye clinic were considered for inclusion.
Overall, 200 charts were reviewed. Most patients were female (Montreal, 76%; Waterloo, 72%), and the mean age was 57.2 ± 14.9 years at Montreal and 52.6 ± 20.1 years at Waterloo. Patients commonly reported multiple health conditions (e.g., allergies [Montreal, 44%; Waterloo, 36%]), and high use of systemic nonocular medications was observed (Montreal, 76%; Waterloo, 62%). Clinical signs and symptoms of DED were recorded more often in Montreal patients than in Waterloo patients (e.g., dryness symptoms, 100 vs. 72%; tear breakup time, 100 vs. 60%). Warm compresses (Montreal, 63%; Waterloo, 83%) and artificial tears (Montreal, 94%; Waterloo, 96%) were the most frequently recommended nonmedical treatment and ocular lubricant, respectively. Topical steroids were the most frequently prescribed medications (Montreal, 22%; Waterloo, 21%), with typically three to four different interventions recommended per patient at each clinic. No relationship was found between symptoms and clinical signs or recommended interventions.
This retrospective chart review provided the demographics, clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and management options for DED patients in Canadian university-based optometry clinics. The more comprehensive assessments conducted at Montreal may be beneficial to better monitor the progression of DED and to determine treatment effects over time.