In an attempt to prioritize research into dry eye, researchers identified questions and outcomes important to dry eye patients and their quality of life. They discovered a considerable gap between outcomes in existing research and outcomes patients consider important.

The team surveyed 420 dry eye patients on their priorities and compared those findings against the outcomes of various dry eye research projects; a research question or outcome ranked by at least 75% of patients as a six or higher on a scale of zero to 10 was considered important.

Of the 12 research questions clinicians had prioritized in previous studies, patients rated eight as important. The top three pertained to patient education effectiveness, environmental modifications and topical anti-inflammatory eye drops for dry eye, the study notes. As for outcomes, the researchers found that among the 109 outcomes identified in existing dry eye research, patients only rated 26 as important. They note that 10 of the 26 were unpopular in existing research, with fewer than 10% of 158 studies reporting these outcomes. Of the 10 most important outcomes, nine were associated with symptoms or quality of life; the top three were ocular burning or stinging, ocular discomfort and ocular pain.

The study concludes that future dry eye research should address the questions and outcomes patients identified as most important to more appropriately meet their needs for a better, more comfortable quality of life.

Saldanha IJ, Petris R, Han G, et al. Research questions and outcomes prioritized by patients with dry eye. JAMA Ophthalmol. August 16, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].