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How Are Ocular Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Associated With Depression in Women With and Without Sjögren Syndrome?



To determine whether ocular phenotypic features of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) and/or participant-reported symptoms of dry eye disease are associated with depression in women participants enrolled in the Sjögren's International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA).


Cross-sectional study.


Women enrolled in the SICCA registry from 9 international research sites. Participants met at least 1 of 5 inclusion criteria for registry enrollment (including complaints of dry eyes or dry mouth, a previous diagnosis of Sjögren syndrome (SS), abnormal serology (positive anti-Sjögren syndrome antigen A and/or B [anti-SSA and/or anti-SSB]), or elevated antinuclear antibody and rheumatoid factor), bilateral parotid gland enlargement, or multiple dental caries). At baseline, participants had oral, ocular, and rheumatologic examination; blood and saliva collection; and a labial salivary gland biopsy (LSGB). They also completed an interview and questionnaires including assessment of depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9). Univariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between depression and demographic characteristics, participant-reported health, phenotypic features of Sjögren syndrome, and participant-reported symptoms. Mixed-effects modeling was performed to determine if phenotypic features of KCS and/or participant-reported symptoms of dry eye disease were associated with depression, controlling for health, age, country or residence, and sex and allowing for nonindependence within geographic site.


Dry eye complaints produced a 1.82-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.38-2.40) higher odds of having depression compared to being symptom-free (P < .001). Additionally, complaints of specific ocular sensations were associated with a higher odds of depression including burning sensation (odds ratio 2.25, 95% CI 1.87-2.72, P < .001) compared to those without complaints. In both women with and without SS, the presence of symptoms of dry eyes and/or dry mouth rather than SS itself resulted in higher odds of depression. One particular ocular phenotypic feature of SS, a positive ocular staining score, was inversely correlated with depression.


Participant-reported eye symptoms, particularly specific ocular sensations such as burning, were found to be positively associated with individual American College of Rheumatology/EUropean League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) SS criteria items.

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