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Increased corneal epithelial permeability after overnight sleep.



To investigate factors of ethnicity, sex, age, and diurnal variation on human corneal epithelial permeability.


Data of corneal epithelial permeability to sodium fluorescein (Pdc) were collected from 374 noncontact lens wearers at various times after awakening throughout the day. Mixed-effect models were developed to investigate the association between Pdc and factors of interest, including time awake (TA), age, sex, ethnicity, and interactions of these factors.


Two models evaluated the "Pdc recovery period" from awakening to 2 hours (Model 1) and the "Pdc plateau" period after TA of 2 hours (Model 2). In Model 1, Pdc declined significantly with length of awake time (P = 0.000), and showed higher Pdc with males (P = 0.098), although this sex difference was not observed after 2 hours (Model 2). Both models showed significantly higher Pdc in Asians than in non-Asians (P = 0.000) and increased Pdc with age (P = 0.048, P = 0.001).


Baseline corneal epithelial barrier function increases after overnight sleep and varies significantly by ethnicity and age.

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