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Tear ferning in contact lens wearers

Evans, Katharine S. E., North, Rachel Valerie ORCID: and Purslow, Christine 2009. Tear ferning in contact lens wearers. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 29 (2) , pp. 199-204. 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2008.00626.x

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Tear ferning (TF) has shown good sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of dry eye, but is a relatively uncommon test, especially in contact lens wearers. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between TF, ocular comfort and tear film stability amongst contact lens (CL) wearers and non-contact lens (NCL) wearers. Subjects (36 NCL, 24 CL; mean age 23.2 ± 4.8 years) underwent assessment of non-invasive tear break up time (NIBUT), fluorescein tear break up time (FBUT) and completed the Ocular Comfort Index (OCI) questionnaire. Non-stimulated tears were collected from the inferior tear meniscus with a glass capillary. Samples of 1.5 μL were air dried, observed by light microscopy and the TF pattern quantified according to Rolando’s grading scale. Significantly higher grades of TF pattern and discomfort (higher OCI scores) were observed in CL wearers compared to NCL wearers (Mann–Whitney U-test; p < 0.005 and p < 0.05 respectively). Differences in tear film stability were not significant between groups. Even when asymptomatic (low OCI scores) CL and NCL subjects were compared, TF remained significantly different (p < 0.005). In both CL and NCL subjects, TF displayed poor correlation with tear film stability tests and OCI scores. Higher TF grades in CL wearers, even if asymptomatic, indicate an unfavourable ratio of salt to macromolecule concentration within the tear film of such subjects. The lack of significant difference in TF between symptomatic CL and NCL wearers could suggest similar aetiology (tear film hyperosmolarity) in each cohort. The TF technique demonstrates limited sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of ocular surface comfort in both CL and NCL wearers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Uncontrolled Keywords: contact lens; contact lens related dry eye; dry eye; ocular comfort; tear ferning; tear film stability
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 0275-5408
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 09:52

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