Purpose: To investigate the characteristics of ocular surface sensations and corneal sensitivity during the interblink interval before and after tear supplementation in dry eye patients. Methods: Twenty subjects (41.88±14.37 years) with dry eye symptoms were included in the dry eye group. Fourteen subjects (39.13±11.27 years) without any clinical signs and/or symptoms of dry eye were included in the control group. Tear film dynamics was assessed by noninvasive tear film breakup time (NI-BUT) in parallel with continuous recordings of ocular sensations during forced blinking. Corneal sensitivity to selective stimulation of corneal mechano-, cold and chemical receptors was assessed using a gas esthesiometer. All the measurements were made before and 5 min after saline and hydroxypropyl-guar (HP-guar) drops. Results: In dry eye patients the intensity of irritation increased rapidly after the last blink during forced blinking, while in controls there was no alteration in the intensity during the first 10 sec followed by an exponential increase. Irritation scores were significantly higher in dry eye patients throughout the entire interblink interval compared to controls (p<0.004). NI-BUT significantly increased after HP-guar (p = 0.003) but not after saline drops (p = 0.14). In both groups, either after saline or HP-guar the shape of symptom intensity curves remained the same with significantly lower irritation scores (p<0.004), however after HP-guar the decrease was significantly more pronounced (p<0.004). Corneal sensitivity to selective mechanical, cold and chemical stimulation decreased significantly in both groups after HPguar (p<0.05), but not after saline drops (p>0.05). Conclusion: Ocular surface irritation responses due to tear film drying are considerably increased in dry eye patients compared to normal subjects. Although tear supplementation improves the protective tear film layer, and thus reduce unpleasant sensory responses, the rapid rise in discomfort is still maintained and might be responsible for the remaining complaints of dry eye patients despite the treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)