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Igor Petricek, Martina Tomic; Dry eye and dry skin- is there a connection?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):4442.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Ocular surface is part of the body surface which predominantly consists of skin. Just as the eye protects itself from drying with tears, so does the skin with sebum, what enables the body to retain its hydration. In that sense, both parts of the body surface perform the same task.<br /> People very frequently complain of dry eye symptoms just as they complain of dry skin.<br /> So, is there a connection?
During 2014, 25 dry eye subjects and 25 subjects with no dry eye symptoms were examined. Clinical parameters screened were severity of dry eye symptoms, ocular signs including conjunctival hyperemia, surface staining, Meibomian gland expression, tear film lipid layer thickness, TBUT before and after meibomian gland expression, Lid Parallel Conjunctival folds (LIPCOF) and Schirmer test. In addition, meibometry was performed using commercially available meibometer. To assess skin dryness, patients were asked how they felt their facial skin was, dry or oily, and then facial skin oiliness was measured using commercially available sebumeter.
Subjects without dry eye symptoms had self-reported oilier facial skin than those with dry eye (p<0.001). Also, sebumetry scores measured on the forehead and cheek were found to be significantly higher in subjects without dry eye symptoms as compared to dry eye subjects (p=0.002). Dry eye subjects had higher LIPCOF score than subjects without dry eye symptoms (p<0.001). TBUT scores both before and after meibomian gland expression were significantly longer in subjects without dry eye symptoms compared to dry eye subjects.<br /> Multiple regression analysis showed that age, gender, self-reported facial skin oiliness and LIPCOF score of both eyes were the main predictors of dry eye symptoms. The increasing prevalence of dry eye symptoms was significantly related with older age, female gender and dry skin.
Results of this study show that there is a statistical connection between dry skin and dry eye. People with dry skin also have drier eyes. As both parts of the body surface play the same role of dehydration prevention, there has to be the same regulator of this function. It is known that androgens play a key role in skin sebum secretion, so could dry eye also be hormonally caused?
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