Dry Eye Disease

Women, Postmenopausal Women Experience Severe Signs of Dry Eye

Jessica Ganga

Women are more prone to experiencing more severe dry eye disease (DED) signs than men, a new study finds. Further, postmenopausal women had more severe signs of DED than premenopausal women, according to the same study.

DED is a common condition that occurs when one’s tears cannot provide suitable lubrication for their eyes.

The researchers aimed to compare how DED manifests in men and women, as well as between premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

The Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) study analyzed data from 434 women and 101 men who self-reported prior medical history. Additionally, participants completed a standardized DED assessment using the Ocular Surface Disease index, Brief Pain Inventory, Tear Break-Up Time, Schirmer’s test 2 (mm/5 min), Institute-graded lissamine conjunctival staining, corneal staining, meibomian gland dysfunction evaluation, and tear osmolarity (mOsms/L) at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months.

According to the results, women experienced worse DED signs than men, displaying lower Schirmer’s test scores (9.27 vs 12.16; p < 0.001), higher corneal staining scores (3.59 vs 2.70; p = 0.006), and worse composite DED sign scores (0.52 vs 0.40; p < 0.001). Further, women who were postmenopausal experienced worse DED signs than premenopausal women.

Despite these results, the researchers found that there were no significant differences in DED symptoms between men and women and between premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

“Elucidating these differences may improve DED diagnosis and provide future direction in understanding sex-related differences in DED,” the researchers concluded.



Zhao M, Yu Y, Roy NS, Yin GS, Asbell P, Bunya VY. Sex-related differences and hormonal effects in the Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) study. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. Published online December 8, 2022. doi:10.1136/bjo-2022-322238