Purpose. To characterize ocular surface discomfort and tear film parameters in a veteran population. Methods. Male patients seen in the Miami Veterans Affairs eye clinic aged 50 years or older were recruited to participate in the study. All patients had normal eyelid, corneal, and conjunctival anatomy. Patients filled out the Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 (DEQ5) and underwent measurement of tear film parameters. The main outcome measures were the frequency of ocular surface symptoms and the correlation between symptoms and global, aqueous, and meibomian gland parameters. Results. A total of 263 men participated in the study; 48% had DES based on the presence of severe symptoms. Many men had objective abnormalities in tear function measurements. Using Schirmer information, lid plugging, and meibomian quality to define objective DES, 176 patients (68%) had one or more abnormalities. Of these, 22 (8%) had aqueous tear deficiency, 124 (47%) lipid tear deficiency, and 30 (11%) a mixed pattern. When examining associations between individual clinical parameters and DEQ5 score, the only significant, but weak, correlations were with the global parameters conjunctival and corneal staining (r = 0.16) and TBUT (r = -0.15). Neither specific aqueous nor meibomian gland measurements were significantly correlated with the presence of symptoms. When considering all measured parameters in a regression model, 8% of the variability in symptoms was explained by the tear parameters. Conclusions. We found that ocular surface symptoms were prevalent in our population. Measurement of standard tear film parameters could not explain the degree of symptoms. This study highlights the need for future research regarding the mechanisms behind ocular surface discomfort in patients with tear film disturbances.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience