Yi Zhou, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the association between depression and the severity of DED symptoms and signs, including inflammatory markers in a secondary cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of data from the Dry Eye Assessment and Management study.
The study involved patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms and signs of DED. A total of 535 patients from 27 ophthalmology and optometry centers were followed for one year.
The researchers found that patients who screened positive for depression had worse DED symptoms based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite DED sign score.
Worse depression, as indicated by a lower Mental Component Summary score on the 36-item Short Form Health Survey, was associated with a higher OSDI score (worse symptoms) at baseline, six months, and 12 months.
No difference was seen in inflammatory markers by depression status.
"Identifying depression and considering treatment, including systemic medications, may be useful in managing patients with DED," the authors write. "Patients with more severe DED concerns or sign measurements may benefit from comorbid psychiatric screening."
Authors concluded by saying that further study is needed to elucidate the relationship between depression and dry eye disease.