Author(s): Anshu Sharma1, Sarita Aggarwal2, Rahul Sahay3, Rimsha Thaseen4, Richa Ahluwalia5

BACKGROUND According to the National Eye Institute, dry eye is a condition in which the eye does not produce tears properly. It can also involve tears not having the right consistency or evaporating too quickly. Tears are necessary to help maintain moisture on the surface of the eye and for clear vision. Diabetes is often associated with several significant ocular conditions such as retinopathy, refractive changes, cataracts, glaucoma and macular oedema. However, one of the most common ocular complications associated with diabetes is dry eye.
The aim of the study is to study the prevalence of dry eyes in diabetes mellitus and to evaluate ocular and other risk factors relevant to diabetic dry eyes.
A hospital-based cross-sectional clinical study of 100 diabetic patients who presented to the Department of Ophthalmology, Santosh Medical College and Hospital, Ghaziabad, between January 2016 to June 2017 was conducted. Detailed diabetic history was recorded. Assessment of anterior segment via slit-lamp biomicroscopy was done. The examinations for dry eyes included Schirmer's test, tear breakup time, fluorescein and rose Bengal staining.
Sixty two (62%) diabetic patients had dry eye. The prevalence in type I was 3% and prevalence in type II was 59%. Dry eye prevalence was maximum in those above 40 years of age. Symptoms like reduced corneal sensation (44%) and meibomitis (20%) were major attributable risk factors. Ocular surface damage was predominantly superficial punctate keratitis. Retinopathy was not statistically associated with the prevalence of dry eyes.
Diabetes and dry eye appears to be a common association. Reduction in the modifiable risk factors of dry eye is essential to reduce its prevalence. No significant statistical correlation was found between retinopathy and dry eyes. However, examination for dry eyes should be an integral part of the assessment of diabetic eye disease.