Study examines link between dry mouth and dry eyes

Though dry eye disease and xerostomia (dry mouth) have both been studied extensively independently of each other, their relationship remains relatively unexplored. A recent study of 150 randomly selected 65-year-olds in Norway has, therefore, examined this link and found that a correlation exists between the two conditions.

Researchers from the University of Oslo’s Faculty of Dentistry and the Norwegian Dry Eye Clinic collaboratively carried out the cross-sectional study. Potential study subjects were randomly chosen from the Norwegian tax registry and invited to participate in an initial examination.

Each participant underwent subjective and objective dry eye assessments at the Norwegian Dry Eye Clinic. This involved several questionnaires and a clinical examination. Subsequently, the study subjects were orally examined at the research clinic at the University of Oslo’s Faculty of Dentistry and asked to complete an additional questionnaire on the frequency of the oral dryness they experienced. Each participant’s xerogenic medication intakes and histories of systemic disease were also recorded.

According to the study authors, a significant positive correlation was found between dry eye and xerostomia symptoms among the study’s participants. Through examinations, the two conditions were demonstrated to coexist pathologically in 4% of the study’s subjects, whereas those with current or former systemic diseases were very likely to experience symptoms of dry eye disease and xerostomia.

The study, titled ‘The relationship between ocular and oral dryness in a cohort from the 65-year-old population in Norway’, was published online in Scientific Reports.