Irritable bowel syndrome might be associated with dry eye disease

Authors Ioannis Asproudis, Anthoula T. Tsoumani, Konstantinos H. Katsanos, Aristeidis H. Katsanos, Vasileios Theopistos, Konstantinos A. Paschidis, Epameinontas V. Tsianos, Dimitrios Christodoulou.


Background A possible association between dry eye disease (DED) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been hypothesized based on the fact that they both share an inflammatory pathogenesis.

Methods Ninety-five patients with IBS and 276 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. All patients answered a questionnaire regarding DED symptoms and had a complete ophthalmic examination. DED signs were evaluated using Schirmer's 1 and tear break-up time (tBUT) tests in both groups.

Results Female IBS participants presented significantly lower Schirmer's test and tBUT (P=0.002 and P<0.001 respectively) than controls. Both diagnostic tests in male IBS patients were also significantly lower than in controls (P<0.001). 72% of IBS patients gave at least 3 positive answers to the questionnaire compared with 42% of the control group (P<0.01).

Conclusion Our results suggest a correlation between IBS and DED. DED symptoms can cause further complications in patients with IBS, and should be considered in their management. However, further research is needed to establish a possible pathophysiologic association.

Keywords Dry eye, irritable bowel syndrome, keratoconjunctivitis sicca

Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29 (4): 487-491

Original Articles