A study using a smartphone app to detect characteristics and risk factors associated with diagnosed and undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye disease suggests it could lead to earlier prevention and more effective interventions.
The app, DryEyeRhythm, collects demographic characteristics, medical history and lifestyle information and daily subjective dry eye symptoms.
“This study may lead to further understanding of dry eye symptoms and identify at-risk individuals who should be clinically evaluated, potentially improving prevention or early treatment of dry eye disease,” said lead author Associate Professor Takenori Inomata, Department of Ophthalmology, Juntendo University.
The cross-sectional study, published by Jama Ophthalmology, analysed crowdsourced data from 4454 participants; 3,294 with risk factors for symptomatic dry eye and 1,160 without symptomatic dry eye. Of the 3,294 with risk factors, 899 had diagnosed symptomatic dry eye and 2,395 had undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye.
The identified risk factors for symptomatic vs no symptomatic dry eye included younger age, female gender, hayfever, depression, mental illnesses (other than depression or schizophrenia), current contact lens use, extended screen exposure and smoking.
The risk factors for undiagnosed vs diagnosed symptomatic dry eye included younger age, male gender, absence of collagen disease, mental illnesses (other than depression or schizophrenia), ophthalmic surgery other than cataract surgery and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, and current or past contact lens use.
The use of a smartphone app to identify and understand disease is relatively new and this study could assist in future developments, said A/Prof Inomata. The app is currently available in Japan and the US on iOS platforms.