Dry Eye

What can dry eye symptoms tell us about US veterans?

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Dry eye symptoms and retinal macular and nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning may serve as a biomarker for disease in veterans who were active duty during the Gulf War Era, according to a study.

Many military veterans who were active duty during this time are affected by Gulf War Illness (GWI), a multisystem disease that is difficult to diagnose.

In this retrospective case-control study, researchers sought to identify non-invasive biomarkers that would help in the diagnosis of the disease.

The medical records of 60 veterans who were active duty during the Gulf War Era and diagnosed with GWI and the records of 85 veterans who were not diagnosed with GWI (control group) were reviewed for eye and medical co-morbidities, medication use, and RNFL thicknesses based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) images.

A higher frequency of dry eye symptoms was seen in the patients with GWI compared to the control group (50% vs 32.9%). A multivariable analysis showed the average retinal NFL thickness, cup-to-disc ratio, age, and PTSD were predictors of a GWI diagnosis.

Baksh BS, Zayan KL, Goldhardt R, et al. Ocular manifestations and biomarkers of Gulf War Illness in US veterans. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):6548. DOI:10.1038/s41598-021-86061-0.

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