Unhappy bedfellows: sleep, DED and depression
Credit: David Goehring

Unhappy bedfellows: sleep, DED and depression

September 20, 2022 Staff reporters

A Chinese study has revealed a significant correlation between dry eye disease (DED) and anxiety and depression, with researchers proposing sleep quality acts as a mediator between the conditions.


The research team at Tianjin Medical University Eye Hospital surveyed 321 DED patients (232 of whom were women) using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaires. Nearly 84% of those surveyed reported poor sleep, and more than half presented with anxiety or depression. However, the study, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, showed that while the effect of DED on anxiety was significant, it was mitigated by better sleep.


Researchers noted that DED and depression share common risk factors, including female sex and menopause, while previous studies also show DED patients suffer with an array of sleep-related issues, with sleep latency also a hallmark of depression. Dehydration associated with sleep disorders may involve a reduction in nocturnal blood pressure, which can affect tear production, they wrote.