Despite the increased awareness of early prophylaxis and treatment for dry eye disease (DED) during the first few weeks after cataract surgery, the chronic effect of cataract surgery on the risk of ocular surface abnormalities has not been fully explored. This study was to assess the prevalence of DE subjective symptoms and clinical tests according to the cataract surgery. A total of 172 patients who underwent bilateral cataract surgeries at least 5 months before the recruitment date and 1225 controls with no cataracts were evaluated for their subjective DE symptoms (dry sensation, foreign-body sensation, ocular pain, ocular fatigue, sensitivity to bright light, and blurred vision) and ophthalmic parameters (tear break-up time, keratoconjunctival staining scores, and maximum blinking interval). The presence of subjective DE symptoms was generally inversely associated with cataract surgeries, whereas abnormal clinical tests were more pronounced among postsurgical cataract patients than among controls. Pseudophakic patients showed a 57% increased prevalence of severe keratoconjunctivitis, compared to controls (P
= 0.02). In contrast, among subjective DE symptoms, significantly lower odds of sensitivity to bright light were detected among cases than controls; the multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) comparing pseudophakic patients with noncataract patients was 0.56 (0.34–0.92) (P
= 0.02). In conclusion, persistent tear instability and corneal epitheliopathy were found even at several months or more after cataract surgery. This study demonstrates the importance of evaluating ocular surface conditions in pseudophakic patients, even if they lack DE symptoms.
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