Patients with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) present to outpatient dysautonomia clinics endorsing a wide range of symptoms. Dry eyes and mouth, or sicca complex are frequently reported. This retrospective study investigates the incidence and quantifies the severity of dry eye syndrome (DES) in patients with POTS.
This retrospective study compiles survey results, and dry eye clinical data from twenty-three POTS patients (22 females, average age 34.9 and st dev 14.0 years) surveyed during their initial or follow-up appointments. Patient’s medication lists were documented to account for anticholinergics, antihistamines, and anticholinesterase use. Patients endorsing dry eye symptoms were tested with Schirmer’s test strips to identify clinically dry eyes and stratified for severity.
Sixty-five percent of patients endorsed dry eye symptoms (15/23). Seventy-four percent of patients endorsed dry mouth symptoms (17/23). Among patients endorsing dry eyes, 81% of eyes had decreased tear production with Schirmer’s strip wetting less than 10 mm/5 min (13/16).
DES is an additional and significant disease burden for the POTS patient population. Dry eye and exocrine gland function should be evaluated as part of the dysautonomia work up with referral to ophthalmology as appropriate. Patients with clinically dry eyes who report additional autonomic dysfunction should be further evaluated for widespread autonomic dysfunction.

© 2020 Ho et al.