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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measurement of post-lens tear thickness.

  • Author(s): Lin, MC
  • Graham, AD
  • Polse, KA
  • Mandell, RB
  • McNamara, NA
  • et al.

PURPOSE: A method to measure the tear film beneath a soft contact lens, referred to as post-lens tear thickness (PLTT), would have many applications to contact lens research. In this study a noninvasive technique for measuring the PLTT is presented. METHODS: The feasibility of measuring the tear layer by optical pachometry was first assessed using a model eye. The baseline corneal thickness (B) of both eyes of 21 subjects was measured, etafilcon-A ionic disposable soft contact lenses (58% water) were inserted, and the total thickness (T) of the cornea, contact lens, and PLTT were measured. After the pachometry readings the lenses were removed and their center thickness (C) determined. The PLTT was calculated using the equation: PLTT = T-(B+C). Two sets of measurements of T were performed at 15 and 25 minutes after lens insertion. The entire procedure was repeated at a second visit. RESULTS: The pachometry measurements of the small aqueous reservoir between the model eye and the lens closely matched those obtained by direct microscopic measurement. For human PLTT, the mean values (and 95% confidence intervals) for right eyes on visits 1 and 2 were 11 (8, 13) and 12 (10, 15) microm, respectively, and for left eyes were 12 (10, 15) and 11 microm (8, 14) microm, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible to measure the post-lens tear thickness using optical pachometry. The variability between repeated measurements suggests that with careful sample size planning, the technique is sufficiently precise to be useful in group assessments of PLTT.

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