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Ocular Surface Disease
Pediatrics

Lower diagnosis rates, higher symptom reporting noted in pediatric dry eye

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Dry eye disease (DED), traditionally associated with adults, is now recognized as a significant concern in children, according to a comprehensive review that highlights the prevalence, risk factors, diagnosis, and management of DED in pediatric populations.

The review, comprising 54 relevant publications, utilized diagnostic criteria similar to those applied in adults. Standardized questionnaires and assessment of tear film homeostatic signs were employed to gauge the prevalence of DED in children, revealing a range between 5.5% and 23.1%. Although limited evidence was found for the impact of ethnicity, some studies suggested a potential influence of gender, particularly in older children.

Several factors were independently associated with DED in children, including digital device use, the duration of digital device use, outdoor time, and urban living. The rates of DED were notably higher in children with ocular allergies and underlying systemic diseases.

In contrast to similar studies in adults, the prevalence of a prior DED diagnosis or a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms was lower in children. However, symptoms were commonly reported, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness and early intervention.

Treatment options for pediatric DED mirrored those in adults, encompassing lifestyle modifications, blinking exercises, lid disease management, and the use of unpreserved lubricants in mild cases, with more advanced treatments as severity increased.

Reference
Stapleton F, Velez FG, Lau C, Wolffsohn JS. Dry eye disease in the young: A narrative review. Ocul Surf. 2023;S1542-0124(23)00152-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2023.12.001. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38070708.

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