Given the chronic nature of dry eye, it’s often helpful to track symptoms over time using standardized questionnaires, but the experience can be time-consuming for patients and practice alike. The most frequently used questionnaire—the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI)—contains 12 items and uses three subscales to assess dry eye symptoms.

The Dry Eye Questionnaire (DEQ-5) is a simplified version of the original DEQ, but compared to the OSDI, it has not been well studied. In this cross-sectional study conducted in Ghana, researchers compared the performance of both questionnaires.

Various statistical measures of reliability, sensitivity and specificity were used to evaluate the OSDI and DEQ-5 questionnaires. The reliability of the overall OSDI and DEQ-5 scores were 0.919 and 0.819, respectively. The authors noted the DEQ-5 questionnaire had good concurrent validity, based on the relatively strong correlation between the overall score and the overall score of the OSDI questionnaire.

“However, there wasn’t a perfect correlation between the two questionnaires, indicative of the fact that either questionnaire might capture unique aspects of dry eye disease that the other might not,” the authors explained in their study. “An imperfect correlation between the two questionnaires was expected owing to the difference in the structure and content of the two questionnaires. The OSDI questionnaire only measures frequency of dry eye symptoms and their effects on vision-related functioning. The DEQ-5 questionnaire in addition to assessing frequency of dry eye symptoms, is also sensitive to dry eye symptoms intensity.”

Despite this, the authors concluded the performance of the DEQ-5 questionnaire in discriminating symptoms of dry eye is comparable to the OSDI questionnaire. The DEQ-5 questionnaire is a valid measure of dry eye symptoms and can be used as a dry eye symptoms assessment tool in both studies and in practice.

Akowuah PK, Adjei-Anang J, Nkansah, EK, et al. Comparison of the performance of the dry eye questionnaire (DEQ-5) to the ocular surface disease index in a non-clinical population. Contact Lens and Anterior Eye. Epub ahead of print.