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The relationship of pre-corneal to pre-contact lens non-invasive tear breakup time.

  • Author(s): Graham, Andrew D
  • Lin, Meng C
  • et al.


To examine the relationship between pre-corneal and pre-contact lens tear film stability (TFS), and to determine whether pre-corneal TFS is a reliable predictor of subsequent pre-lens TFS after a contact lens is placed on the eye.


667 records met inclusion criteria and were extracted from a soft contact lens multi-study database. Multivariable linear mixed effects models were fit to examine the association between pre-corneal and pre-lens TFS, adjusting for potential confounders and accounting for repeated measures. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis was employed to assess the predictive performance of pre-corneal TFS for subsequent pre-lens TFS. TFS was quantified for this analysis as the non-invasive tear breakup time (NITBUT).


Pre-corneal NITBUT was significantly related to the pre-lens NITBUT at both 10 min (p<0.001) and 2-6 hrs (p<0.001) post-lens insertion. However, the sensitivities of pre-corneal NITBUT for predicting symptom-associated thresholds of pre-lens NITBUT ranged from 50-65%, and specificities ranged from 57-72%, suggesting poor-to-moderate diagnostic performance.


Despite the association of pre-corneal and pre-lens TFS, the inherent lability and sensitivity to environmental exposures of the tear film introduce significant variability into NITBUT measurements. Using pre-corneal NITBUT to identify likely successful contact lens candidates prior to fitting is thus not sufficiently accurate to be relied upon in the clinical setting.

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