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Comparing dry eye disease in adult and paediatric populations via the IRIS Registry

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Almost 5 million patients in the IRIS Registry had received at least one diagnosis of DED between 2013 and 2019; of those, 203,171 were children under 18 years of age and 4,592,808 were adults.

A study of dry eye disease (DED) in children found that the average age of onset of DED is at 12.51 years compared with the average of 61.06 years in adults. The highest prevalence in children was seen between 12 to 15 years of age, according to lead author Dr Vivian Paraskevi Douglas, DVM, MBA, MSc, and colleagues from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States.

Although DED is highly prevalent in adults, with rates ranging from 5% to 50%, little is known about the disorder in paediatric patients, which sparked the interest in this study.

IRIS Registry data

The investigators used the extensive data in the American Academy of Ophthalmology IRIS® (Intelligent Research in Sight) Registry to study the difference between the paediatric and adult populations.

Almost 5 million patients in the IRIS Registry had received at least one diagnosis of DED between 2013 and 2019; of those, 203,171 were children under 18 years of age and 4,592,808 were adults.

Dr Douglas and associates collected data on biologic sex, race, ethnicity, and US geographic region of residence.

The data breakdown showed that DED was diagnosed in females significantly more often compared with males. More cases of DED were diagnosed among white adults and children compared with Asian and Black/African American patients; more cases were diagnosed among non-Hispanic and Latino children and adults compared with Hispanic/Latino patients, and more cases were diagnosed in patients in both age groups in the North Central and Northeast regions of the US.

Among the paediatric patients, DED had higher prevalence rates in those with refractive errors and eyelid/conjunctival disorders, the authors reported.

Regarding seasons, springtime had the highest prevalence of DED and winter the lowest among the paediatric population.

“Until recently, paediatric dry eye disease has been an under-recognized disease due to diagnostic limitations and challenges of interpreting the symptoms in children. We are excited about the potential for big data to provide insight that informs our care for this segment of the population,” Dr Douglas and mentor Dr Aisha Traish concluded.


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