BACKGROUND : Ocular disorders occur in 50% – 80% of HIV and AIDS patients, and dry eye has
been reported as one of the most common anterior segment manifestations in these patients.
AIM : The aim of this study was to investigate ocular surface disorders (OSDs) or dry eye in
people living with HIV and AIDS on antiretroviral (ARVs) in a controlled setting.
SETTING : Mankweng Hospital, ARV Clinic.
METHODS : This study included 130 HIV and AIDS participants attending an ART Clinic at
Mankweng Hospital and 48 controls. Each participant had an anterior and posterior
segment eye examination with a slit lamp and fundus camera, respectively. The dry eye
or OSD was investigated with Schirmer’s test and invasive fluorescein tear breakup
RESULTS : The means of the Schirmer’s test and TBUT were 6.7 mm ± 4.0 mm and 6.9 ± 4 seconds
in HIV and AIDS participants, while the means in the control group were 13.5 mm ± 3 mm and
14.2 ± 3 s, respectively. The correlations between the severity of dry eye and the level of CD4
cell count were positive and significant.
CONCLUSION : There was decreased tear production as measured by the Schirmer’s test and
TBUT in our study participants. Statistically significant correlations were found between the
severity of dry eye and the level of CD4 cell count. Although the entire pathogenesis of dry eye
in HIV and AIDS patients remains unclear, it may be associated with lymphocytic infiltration
and destruction of the lacrimal gland.