To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of symptomatic dry eye disease (DED) among medical students.
This cross-sectional study included 209 students at a medical school in Korea. Dry eye symptoms were assessed using a 9-item questionnaire, and DED was defined as having one or more dry eye symptoms often or all the time. The ocular surface disease index (OSDI) and visual analog scale (VAS) questionnaires were also administered to quantify the dry eye symptoms. A survey including demographic data, potential risk factors for DED, personal habits, and psychological stress was also performed.
Of the 209 students, 188 (93 men and 95 women) completed the survey. The average age was 28.0±2.5 (mean±SD; range, 23–37) years. Prevalence of DED was 27.1% (51/188). Participants with DED had significantly higher VAS and OSDI than those without DED (P<0.001 for both). Univariate analysis revealed that female sex (P=0.001), contact lens (CL) wear (P=0.034), prolonged computer use (P=0.001), and higher psychological stress score (P<0.001) had significant association with DED. Multivariate analysis also showed the significant association between DED and female sex (P=0.026), CL wear (P=0.042), prolonged computer use (P=0.004), and higher stress score (P=0.014).
Symptomatic DED was prevalent among medical students. Increased psychological stress was associated with higher risk of DED. Its risk also increased among women, CL wearers, and prolonged computer users.