To investigate the prevalence of symptomatic dry eye (SDE) on women undergoing systemic adjuvant therapy for breast cancer and its association with treatment settings.
Woman undergoing breast cancer systemic adjuvant therapy were included in exposure group. An age-matched non-treatment control group was recruited. This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study utilised validated Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and NCCN-FACT-Breast Cancer Symptom Index (NFBSI-16) questionnaires to determine the presence of SDE and investigate other breast cancer treatment complications. Additionally, demographic data and medical histories were collected.
Of 423 eligible participants, 200 in each of the control group and the exposure group were included in the final analysis. The prevalence of SDE was 59.0% in breast cancer patients with adjuvant treatment, statistically significantly higher than 25.5% in the control group (P < 0.01). Additionally, exposure group experienced higher prevalence of moderate and severe SDE, which were 20.0% and 19.5% respectively compared with 9.0% and 4.0% in the control group (P = 0.002, P < 0.001). There was a significantly high prevalence of SDE among patients who had received over four cycles of systemic therapy (71.0%, P < 0.001) and the application of targeted therapy (71.2%, P = 0.014). The severity of SDE positively correlated with the cycles of treatment administered.
SDE was significantly predominant in women with breast cancer undergoing systemic adjuvant treatment. Our findings suggest dry eye assessments among patients receiving more than four cycles of chemotherapy or targeted therapy, thus early revealing possible dry eye conditions to both patients and clinicians for further specialized examination and treatment.

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