PURPOSE: To investigate associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and dry eye syndrome (DES), and to evaluate the differential effect of vitamin D on ocular diseases including age-related macular disease (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), cataract, and DES. METHODS: A total of 16,396 participants aged >19 years were randomly selected from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All participants participated in standardized interviews, blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D level evaluations, and comprehensive ophthalmic examinations. DES was defined by a history of clinical diagnosis of dry eyes by a physician. The association between vitamin D and DES was compared to the associations between vitamin D and AMD, DR, cataract, and DES from our previous studies. RESULTS: The odds of DES non-significantly decreased as the quintiles of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased (quintile 5 versus 1, OR = 0.85, 95%CI: 0.55-1.30, P for trend = 0.076) after adjusting for potential confounders including age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, smoking status, and sunlight exposure times. The relative odds of DES (OR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.30-1.64) and cataract (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.59-0.99) were relatively high, while those of DR (OR = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.18-0.76) and late AMD (OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.12-0.81) were lower in men. CONCLUSIONS: The present study does not support an association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and DES. The preventive effect of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D may be more effective for DR and late AMD than it is for cataract and DES.