Purpose: To evaluate the impact of ocular surface symptoms on quality of life in a veteran population receiving eye care services. Design: Cross-sectional survey study. Methods: setting: Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). patient population: Patients seen at the eye clinic between June and August 2010 were asked to fill out the Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 (DEQ5) and the Impact of Dry Eye on Everyday Life (IDEEL) questionnaire. main outcome measures: Correlation between ocular surface symptoms and functionality. Results: Four hundred eighty-nine patients elected to fill out the DEQ5 questionnaire (36% response rate). The mean age of respondents was 66 years (standard deviation 12). Ninety-four percent were male; 62% were white and 37% were black. Using the DEQ5 as a surrogate measure of ocular surface symptoms, 65% of respondents reported at least mild ocular surface symptoms (DEQ5 <6) and 27% of them reported severe symptoms (DEQ5 <12). Black subjects had a 2-fold increased risk of severe symptoms compared to white subjects (odds ratio 2.06, 95% confidence interval 1.33-3.19). Several medications were associated with a significantly increased risk of severe symptoms, including glaucoma medications (1.7-fold increase), antidepressants (2.3-fold increase), and antihistamines (2.1-fold increase). There was an inverse correlation between DEQ5 and IDEEL scores with regard to ability to perform activities of daily living (n = 391, r = -0.54, P <.001), emotional well-being (n = 386, r = -0.63, P <.001), and the ability to work (n = 205, r = -0.57, P <.001). Fifty percent of patients with severe symptoms had documentation that their symptoms were addressed during the visit. Conclusion: Severe ocular surface symptoms reduce the quality of life of Miami VAMC veterans. Eye care professionals should be vigilant in eliciting ocular surface complaints from their patients.
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