Objective: To investigate the use of goggles to increase periocular humidity and reduce dry eye symptoms.
Methods: Noncontact lens wearing patients, previously diagnosed with and symptomatic for dry eye, were recruited. All patients, test (n = 100) and control (n = 25) patients, were required to fill out a simple questionnaire to assess their ocular comfort at three time points during the study: immediately before wearing goggles, after 20 minutes of continuous goggle wear, and 15 minutes after the goggles were removed. The test group consisted of 100 patients who wore swim goggles. The randomly selected control group consisted of 25 patients who wore goggles with the central lens cut out.
Results: Ninety-nine percent of the patients in the test group reported a decrease in their symptoms after the goggles had been worn for 20 minutes. After the goggles had been removed for 15 minutes, the symptoms returned in 88% of the test patients. In the control group, only 24% experienced an improvement in symptoms during goggle wear; 76% experienced no improvement.
Conclusions: Increasing the periocular humidity has a significant positive impact on ocular comfort in patients with dry eye. This effect is transient. However, the significance of the improvement is such that the use of goggles should be revisited to help patients suffering from chronic discomfort and other dry eye sequelae. Furthermore, the response of an individual patient to short-term goggle wear may help streamline treatment options for both physicians and patients.