(BPT) - Nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) of eye care professionals (ECPs) who participated in the National Eye C.A.R.E. (Current Attitudes Related to Eye Health) Survey believe our modern, multi-screen lifestyle (i.e., everyday use of mobile, tablet and computer screens) is partly responsible for an increase in dry eye disease (DED). The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll in July 2015 on behalf of Shire. The survey included more than 1,000 ECPs (optometrists and ophthalmologists) and more than 1,200 adults with dry eye symptoms (U.S. adults diagnosed with dry eye disease or experiencing dry eye symptoms who have used artificial tears in the past month).
While women ages 50 and older are still most likely to be affected by DED, ECPs surveyed also report that use of modern technology is changing the face of the condition, saying that they are seeing an increased number of younger patients aged 18-34 with dry eye symptoms now vs. 10 years ago (76 percent).
“Many adults aren’t familiar with key symptoms of DED and wait years between symptom onset and seeking medical advice,” explained Marguerite McDonald, MD, FACS, board-certified ophthalmologist, Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island. “It’s important that all adults talk to an ECP right away if they notice changes in their eyes. While age and female gender continue to be significant risk factors for DED, our screen-dependent lifestyle has led to a noticeable shift, with more young adults presenting with dry eye symptoms than in years past.”
Don’t ignore dry eye symptoms
DED is an inflammatory disease of the ocular surface that is often chronic and may be progressive. The disease is commonly associated with dryness and overall eye discomfort, as well as stinging, burning, a gritty feeling or episodes of blurred vision.
Based on the survey results, adults with dry eye symptoms (64 percent) rank sight as the sense that’s most important to them, yet most (55 percent) say that they did not give much thought to their eye care until they started experiencing dry eye symptoms. Adults with dry eye symptoms who participated in the survey said they typically waited two years between symptom onset and seeking medical advice. This may be because about half (49 percent) dismiss them as a normal part of aging, and approximately one in three (32 percent) don’t understand that there is a potential risk for long-term damage to their eyes. But, nearly three in five (57 percent) say they wish they had spoken to an ECP sooner.
More possible impacts
Adults with dry eye symptoms who participated in the survey said dry eye symptoms impact them in various ways throughout their day. Specifically, most people with dry eye symptoms surveyed say that those symptoms impact their ability to spend time in front of a screen (75 percent), participate in hobbies (68 percent), and work (54 percent) – and many say that symptoms cause annoyance (57 percent), fatigue (46 percent), and/or frustration (42 percent). In addition, 43 percent say their dry eye symptoms often keep them from what they want to be doing.
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More Information About Dry Eye Disease
An estimated 30 million Americans report symptoms consistent with dry eye*. According to data presented at the 2016 American Society of Cataract and Refractory Surgery, approximately 16 million have been diagnosed with DED by a health care professional.
*Based on a dry eye prevalence of 14.5% from the 2014 BOSS (Beaver Dam Offspring Study) of self-reported symptoms and the 2014 U.S. Census estimate of adults ages 25 to 84 years.
About the Survey
The National Eye C.A.R.E. Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Shire between July 6 and 27, 2015. The consumer arm of the survey included a total of 1,210 US adults ages 18+ who report dry eye symptoms (“adults with dry eye symptoms”), including 375 adults who have been diagnosed with dry eye disease (or chronic dry eye) by a health care professional (“patients”) and 835 adults who have not been diagnosed, but experience dry eye symptoms and have used artificial tears to relieve those symptoms within the past month. The professional arm of the survey included 1,015 US adults ages 18+ who are optometrists (n=502) or ophthalmologists (n=513) (“ECPs”). For complete research method, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Clotilde Houzé, Director, Portfolio Communications, Shire at email@example.com.
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