Purpose: This large cross-sectional population-based study investigated the relationship between dry eye disease (DED) and health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). Methods: Dry eye and HR-QoL were assessed in 78,165 participants (19–94 yrs, 59.2% female) from the Dutch population-based Lifelines cohort, using the WHS and the SF36 questionnaire, respectively. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between DED and below median Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) score, corrected for age, sex, education, BMI, and 52 comorbidities. Results: Overall, 8.9% of participants had DED. Participants with DED had an increased risk of low PCS (OR 1.54 (95% CI 1.46–1.62)) and MCS scores (OR 1.39 (95% CI 1.32–1.46)), corrected for age and sex. This risk remained significant after correction for comorbidities (P < 0.0005). Increasing DED symptom frequency was associated with decreasing HR-QoL (P < 0.0005). Undiagnosed DED subjects had a significantly increased risk of low mental HR-QoL with increasing dry eye symptoms compared to diagnosed subjects (P < 0.0005). Compared to allergic conjunctivitis, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachment, DED showed the highest risk of low HR-QoL. Compared to other common systemic and chronic disorders, such as depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and COPD, DED was distinctive by having a substantial reduction in both PCS and MCS. Conclusion: DED is associated with substantial reductions in both physical and mental HR-QoL, also after correction for associated comorbidities. Not having a diagnosis is associated with worse mental HR-QoL in subjects with severe DED. Our results underline the importance of recognizing dry eye as a serious disorder.
- Dry eye disease
- Health-related quality of life (HR-QoL)
- Quality of life