Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of symptomatic dry eye disease (DED) in four Middle Eastern Countries and investigate the association between behavioral-based risk factors and severity of DED.
Patients and Methods: Population-based cross-sectional study of 1463 participants from 4 Mediterranean countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine). The Arabic version of the Ocular Surface Disease Index (ARB-OSDI) questionnaire was used to estimate the prevalence and severity of symptomatic DED using an online format survey. The survey also included demographic questions and possible behavioral risk factors (tobacco and cosmetic use). One-Way ANOVA and multivariate regression analyses were used to investigate the association between OSDI mean scores and behavioral-based risk factors.
Results: The prevalence of symptomatic DED (OSDI score ≥ 13) among the overall population (332 males and 1132 females) reached 70.2%. Tobacco and cosmetic users reported a higher significant prevalence and severity of symptomatic DED than non-users (p < 0.0001). Smoking habits (eg, smoking cigarettes or Ajami, smoking in closed areas, and daily smoking) were more likely to report symptomatic DED. Bad hygiene process during the use of any cosmetic product was behind the high prevalence and severity of symptomatic DED among the females of the study population.
Conclusion: Symptomatic DED is substantial in Middle Eastern countries. It is statistically associated with cosmetic and tobacco use.