Submandibular gland (SMG) transplantation improves the tear film and other ocular surface features for patients with severe dry eye disease (DED); it also seems to improve patients’ quality of life (QOL) too, according to a new study. Using a dry eye-related QOL questionnaire, researchers evaluated whether DED patients' QOL would benefit from SMG transplantation and determined whether preoperative ophthalmologic and QOL measurements could predict which patients would benefit the most from this surgery. They found that QOL and patient satisfaction significantly improved after SMG transplantation. This prospective study included 51 DED patients who had successful SMG transplantation. QOL was measured before and one year after surgery.

Despite all the participants having poor QOLs prior to surgery, the team found that one year after surgery, all five QOL domains (dry eye symptom bother, impact on daily activities, emotional impact, impact on work and satisfaction with treatment) showed significant improvement. They note that patients with unsuccessful treatment experiences with cyclosporine eye drops as well as pre-surgical low scores of visual acuity and all five QOL domains (except for “satisfaction with treatment”) had significantly increased post-surgical QOL scores. Patients with severe and refractory DED would likely benefit significantly from this treatment avenue, the researchers said in their abstract.

They add, however, that pre-surgical Schirmer’s test scores, tear film break-up times and corneal fluorescein staining measurements showed no effects or contradictory correlations with post-surgical QOL scores.

Su JZ, Zheng B, Liu XJ, et al. Quality of life and patient satisfaction after submandibular gland transplantation in patients with severe dry eye disease. The Ocular Surface. April 20, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].