The findings suggest that patients might see a reduction in dry eye if they slept on their backs, in addition to continuing other forms of treatment, said Dr. Alevi, a cornea and refractive surgery fellow, Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island in New York.
Dr. Alevi’s colleague, Henry Perry, MD, had long suggested to patients with dry eye that sleeping on their backs might improve their symptoms and wanted to formally test that theory.
Accordingly, a nonrandomized, double-masked study was performed, enrolling 130 patients. The patients were given a questionnaire to analyze their sleep habits and sleep positions and also underwent a standard dry eye evaluation.
The results seemed to confirm Dr. Perry’s informal observation.
“What we saw that was statistically significant was that patients who slept on either the left or the right sides tended to have had more symptoms of dry eye and meibomian gland disease than patients who slept on their backs,” Dr. Alevi said.
It also might be helpful to monitor patients in a sleep center where data could be obtained on patients’ sleep positions and and then analyzed for correlations with dry eye symptoms. While most patients know whether they primarily sleep on their backs or on their right or left sides, formal observation of sleep positions would produce more reliable data, according to Dr. Alevi.