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P Mertzanis, K Venkataraman, C Begley, R Chalmers, L Abetz; The Impact of Dry Eye on Daily Life: Results from a Qualitative Study . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):74.
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Purpose: Patients with dry eye often report ocular dryness, burning, gritty or sandy sensations that may impact their daily lives. However, little research has been conducted in this area. The purpose of this study was to assess the overall impact of dry eye symptoms on daily life through qualitative analysis of focus group data. Methods: Six focus groups were conducted in the United States and Canada. There were a total of 45 participants: 15 with Sjögren's Syndrome, and 30 with mild to moderate dry eye. Results: The focus groups indicated that dry eye significantly impacts quality of life. Individuals with Sjögren's were more severely impacted. In both groups, interference was evident in the following areas: work life, relationships, leisure activities, daily activities of living, social life, and emotional well-being. Specific examples discussed by the participants included: the inability to concentrate at work, impatience with family members, difficulty reading at night, limitations in cooking, and the inability to be around tobacco smoke. The experience of living with dry eye symptoms elicits feelings such as disappointment, frustration, and embarrassment due to reddening of the eyes and instilling eye drops. Self-esteem was also affected, particularly in women who were unable to wear make-up or contact lenses. Furthermore, participants reported that dry eye is not well understood by the people around them, making the experience of living with the condition even more challenging. Conclusion: This research suggests that the impact of dry eye on daily life and emotional well-being is important to measure in individuals with all levels of dry eye severity. Using this data, a questionnaire is currently being developed to assess the impact of dry eye on patients' lives in a standardized and quantitative manner. This project was funded by Alcon Research Ltd. Acknowledgements: Drs. B Caffery, T Edrington, JD Nelson, T Simpson & C Snyder.
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