Théa survey finds public lack of awareness around dry eye disease

The No Eyedea survey of 2000 people found 36% of respondents did not know the symptoms of dry eye disease

woman rubbing eyes
A new survey by eye care group, Théa, has found gaps in public awareness of dry eye disease, its symptoms and treatments.

Conducted by YouGov, the No Eyedea survey of over 2000 people found that 36% of respondents did not know what any of the symptoms of dry eye disease were.

Despite this, Théa suggested many respondents had experienced the symptoms, with more than two in five (43%) reporting they had experienced painful, sore or burning sensations in their eyes, and almost half had felt they had something in their eye. Watery eyes were reported by 34%, and one in five had experienced red eyes.

Almost a third of respondents (32%) admitted to waiting to see if the symptoms would go away by themselves.

Exploring awareness around who is most at risk of dry eye disease, 92% of survey respondents did not know that women are more likely to experience the condition than men, and 84% were not aware that the menopause could lead to dry eye disease.

Reporting the survey results, the company highlighted: “Dry eye disease should not be ignored,” highlighting: “If left untreated, more severe cases can lead to conjunctivitis, ulceration and vision loss. It can also have a significant impact on sufferers’ quality of life.”

This was reflected in the research, as of those who had experienced dry eye disease, respondents reported that it impacted their ability to wear contact lenses (24%), affected their sleep pattern (18%) and their overall mood (14%).

In addition to a lack of awareness around dry eye disease generally, the company found that many respondents were unsure of what treatments to look for, finding that only 12% of the public understood “the importance of using a preservative-free product for the condition.” While in those diagnosed with dry eye disease, 45% reported not knowing about preservatives.

The company also found a general “lack of awareness around eye health” as 48% of survey respondents thought they should get their eyes tested every three years, in contrast to the NHS recommendation of every two years, or less if recommended by an optometrist.

Dr Matthew Olsen, head of UK marketing for Théa Pharmaceuticals, highlighted that dry eye disease “can have a huge impact on quality of life.”

He explained: “Théa remains committed to raising awareness of dry eye disease so people feel confident enough to seek a diagnosis and find the right solutions to manage their condition.”