Sufficient physical activity and minimal screen use seemed to weaken the association between sedentary behavior and DED observed in this study. Photo: Pam Theriot, OD. Click image to enlarge.
Having an active lifestyle has been shown to reduce the risk of a host of health problems, one of which is dry eye disease (DED), suggests evidence from a new study in Ocular Surface. The researchers found an association between greater sedentary behavior and increased risk of the condition. They also observed that less screen use and more physical activity seemed to attenuate the increased risk of DED, even in people living more sedentary lifestyles.
Participant data (n=48,418) was sourced from a population-based cohort study called Lifelines. The age of participants ranged from 18 to 96, and 58% were female. DED was assessed based on the Women’s Health Study (WHS) criteria, and sedentary behavior was evaluated using the Marshall Sitting Questionnaire. Researchers investigated the relationship between DED and sedentary behavior through logistic regressions that were corrected for numerous factors, including 48 comorbidities. The team also assessed the potential modifying effects of physical activity before repeating all of the analyses excluding the most computer-intensive domains.
Of all participants, 9.1% had WHS-defined DED. “Greater sedentary behavior was associated with an increased risk of DED (odds ratio (OR): 1.02 per hour/day,” the researchers reported in their paper on the study. However, the team pointed out that the association was only significant for those with physical activity levels below what is recommended by the World Health Organization (150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week; OR: 1.02).
Additionally, when the researchers excluded computer-related sitting from the analyses, they found that the relationship between sedentary behavior and DED was no longer significant, suggesting that screen use may also explain the link between the two (OR: 1.01).
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded in their paper that “screen use, medical comorbidities and sufficient physical activity should be considered as key confounding factors in the relationship between sedentary behavior and DED.”
Nguyen L, Magno MS, Utheim TP, et al. The relationship between sedentary behavior and dry eye disease. Ocular Surface. January 5, 2023. [Epub ahead of print].