Appropriateness of Questionnaires for the Diagnosis and Monitoring Treatment of Dry Eye Disease

James S. Wolffsohn, Sònia Travé-Huarte, Jennifer P. Craig, Alex Muntz, Fiona J. Stapleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: If questionnaires contributing to the diagnosis of dry eye disease are to be recommended as alternatives to existing questionnaires, they must be comparable, with similar repeatability and treatment sensitivity. Comparability was thus examined for three common dry eye questionnaires along with identifying the individual questions that most strongly predicted overall scores. Methods: Anonymised data ( n = 329) collected via the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), 5-item Dry Eye Questionnaire (DEQ-5) and Symptom Assessment in Dry Eye (SANDE) questionnaires (including responses to individual questions) from consenting patients were drawn from real-world dry eye clinics/registries in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand; at follow-up, normalised changes were evaluated in 54 of these patients. Treatment data were also analysed from a 6-month, randomised controlled trial assessing artificial tear supplement treatments with 43 responders and 13 non-responders to treatment identified. The questions extracted from the OSDI which form the abbreviated 6-item OSDI were also analysed. Results: The agreement between the questionnaires ranged from r = 0.577 to 0.754 (all p < 0.001). For the OSDI, three questions accounted for 89.1% of the variability in the total score. The correlation between the OSDI and OSDI-6 was r = 0.939, p < 0.001. For the DEQ-5, two questions accounted for 88.5% of the variance in the total score. Normalised treatment changes were also only moderately correlated between the questionnaires (r = 0.441 to 0.595, p < 0.01). For non-responders, variability was 7.4% with both OSDI and OSDI-6, 9.7% with DEQ-5, 12.1% with SANDE-frequency and 11.9% with SANDE-severity scale. For responders, improvement with drops was detected with a 19.1% change in OSDI, 20.2% in OSDI-6, 20.9% in DEQ-5, and 27.5%/23.6% in SANDE-frequency/severity scales. Conclusions: Existing commonly used dry eye questionnaire scores do not show high levels of correlation. The OSDI was the least variable of the questionnaires and while displaying a slightly lower treatment effect than either the DEQ or SANDE, it was more sensitive to detection of a treatment effect. The quicker-to-complete OSDI-6 exhibited essentially the same outcome as the OSDI, with similar variability and treatment sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3146
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
Early online date27 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • diagnosis
  • dry eye disease
  • sensitivity
  • subjective assessment
  • symptom questionnaire
  • treatment effect
  • variability


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