Tear interferometric patterns reflect clinical tear dynamics in dry eye patients

Reiko Arita, Naoyuki Morishige, Tatsuya Fujii, Shima Fukuoka, Jae Lim Chung, Kyoung Yul Seo, Kouzo Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. We investigated whether the tear interferometric pattern was able to identify differences in tear film kinetics among clinical subtypes of dry eye. METHODS. A total of 138 eyes of 76 subjects (38 men and 38 women; mean age ± SD, 61.6 ± 16.2 years) with or without dry eye who visited Itoh Clinic from May to August 2015 were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Clinical diagnosis of dry eye subtype was based on tear film parameters. The pattern of tear film kinetics determined by interferometry was classified as 0 (monotonous gray or multicolor interferometric fringe with a noninvasive breakup time [NIBUT] of ≥5 seconds), 1 (multicolor interferometric fringe with a NIBUT of <5 seconds), or 2 (grayish amorphous interferometric fringe with a NIBUT of <5 seconds), and reliability of classification was evaluated. Lipid layer thickness (LLT) for the tear film was also determined by interferometry. RESULTS. Interrater κ values for evaluation of interferometric patterns ranged from 0.57 to 0.94 for both physicians and nonphysicians with reference to a dry eye expert, the latter of whom showed an intrarater reliability of 0.90. The distribution of eyes among interferometric patterns 0, 1, and 2 coincided well with the clinical subgroups of normal tear condition, non– Sjögren syndrome aqueous-deficient dry eye, and meibomian gland dysfunction, respectively. A multicolor interferometric fringe was essentially observed only at an LLT of >70 nm. CONCLUSIONS. Tear interferometry was able to reliably distinguish clinical subtypes of dry eye by reflecting the balance between the lipid and aqueous layers of the tear film.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3928-3934
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Inc. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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