Objective: To examine whether women with premature ovarian failure (POF) have abnormal findings in ocular surface or tear parameters and whether they report symptoms of ocular discomfort compared with age-matched controls. Methods: Sixty-five patients with POF and 36 age-matched healthy controls were examined for signs and symptoms of dry eye. The Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire and the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ 25) were administered to the participants. Assessments of ocular surface damage (Oxford and van Bijsterveld scores of vital dye staining) and tear status (Schirmer tests 1 [without anesthesia] and 2 [with anesthesia] and tear breakup time) were performed. Results: Women with POF scored significantly worse than controls on all ocular surface damage parameters: Oxford score (3.2 vs 1.7; P=.001), conjunctival lissamine green (2. 1 vs 1.3; P=.02), corneal fluorescein staining (1.2 vs 0.4; P=.005), and van Bijsterveld score (2.1 vs 1.3; P=.02). Further, the proportion of patients with POF meeting the dry eye diagnostic criterion of a van Bijsterveld score greater than or equal to 4 was significantly greater among women with POF than among controls (20% vs 3%; P=.02). The POF group also tended to have worse scores than controls on self-reported symptoms, as measured by the overall Ocular Surface Disease Index (12.5 vs 2.1; P<.001) and the overall NEI-VFQ (94 vs 98; P=.001) after adjustment for age and race. Schirmer test scores and tear breakup time did not differ. Conclusions: Women with POF were more likely to exhibit ocular surface damage and symptoms of dry eye than age-matched controls. They were not, however, more likely to have reduced tear production. To our knowledge, this association between ocular surface disease and POF has not been previously reported. These data provide further evidence of the multifaceted role of sex hormones in the health and disease of the ocular surface.
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