Original Research

A comparison of the occurence of dry eye between arthritic and non-arthritic subjects

E. Oghre, O. M. Amiebenomo
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 72, No 1 | a44 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v72i1.44 | © 2013 E. Oghre, O. M. Amiebenomo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 December 2013 | Published: 04 December 2013

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E. Oghre,
O. M. Amiebenomo,

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Various studies have reported that dry eye is a common occurrence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis but not much has been done to determine its occurrence in other forms of arthritis. This

study was designed to compare the symptoms of dry eye, tear film breakup time and tear production respectively in arthritic and non-arthritic subjects and also between rheumatoid arthritic patients and patients with other forms of arthritis. A total of 106 subjects within the age range of 41-90 years were included. Fifty-nine were non-arthritic with mean age and standard deviation (SD) of 58.2 ± 11.9 years, while 47 had arthritis with mean age and SD of 63.4 ± 13.3 years. Of the 47 arthritic patients 34 had osteoarthritis, 10 had rheumatoid arthritis, two had ankylosing spondylitis and one had gout. Subjects were evaluated using a McMonnies and Ho Dry Eye Questionnaire, invasive tear break-up-time test, Schirmer I test and fluorescein staining. The percentage of subjects with dry eyesymptoms in both the arthritic and non-arthritic groups was quite small (<10%) however, there
was a statistically significant difference in dry eye symptoms between both groups (Mann-Whitney:
U = 1035.5, p = 0.025) even though both groups were largely asymptomatic. There was no
significant difference in tear breakup time (Mann-Whitney:  U = 175,  p  > 0.05), or tear quantity respectively (Unpaired  t-test: p > 0.05) between both groups. Also, there was no statistically significant difference in symptoms of dry eye, tear break up time, or tear quantity respectively between rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis (Unpaired t-test: p > 0.05). In conclusion,
the occurrence of dry eye is largely independent of the presence of arthritis even though arthritic subjects may be slightly more symptomatic and the presence of dry eye is independent of the form of arthritis.  (S Afr Optom 2013 72(1) 34-40)


Dry eye; arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; osteoarthritis; tear break-up time; tear quantity


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