Purpose: To measure the tear meniscus dynamics in aqueous tear deficiency dry eye patients using optical coherence tomography. Design: Clinical research study of a laboratory technique. Methods: Twenty-five aqueous tear deficiency dry eye patients and 30 healthy subjects were recruited. Upper and lower tear menisci of 1 randomly selected eye of each participant were imaged during normal and delayed blinking using optical coherence tomography. Measured parameters included upper tear meniscus height and volume, lower tear meniscus height and volume, the blink outcome defined as the meniscus volume change during blink action, and open eye outcome defined as the meniscus volume change during the open eye period. Results: During normal blinking, both tear meniscus height and volume before blink in dry eye patients were significantly smaller than those in healthy subjects, except for the upper tear meniscus volume. During normal blinking, the blink outcome and open eye outcome of lower tear meniscus were significantly smaller in dry eye patients compared with healthy subjects. During delayed blinking, the upper and lower tear menisci heights and volumes significantly increased in both groups. However, dry eye patients had smaller increases than healthy subjects. During delayed blinking, the open eye outcomes of upper and lower tear menisci were smaller in dry eye patients than healthy subjects. Conclusions: Dry eye patients seem to have reduced tear meniscus dynamics during normal blinking and smaller increases of meniscus volume during delayed blinking. Analysis of tear meniscus dynamics may provide more insight in the altered tear system in dry eye patients.
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