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The Changes in Tear Film Parameters and Impression Cytology in Heavily Drinking Men

Cumurcu, Tongabay MD*; Gunduz, Abuzer MD*; Cumurcu, Birgul Elbozan MD; Gül, Işl Gögcegöz MD†ı; Akpolat, Nusret MD; Karlidag, Rifat MD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31825239d1
Clinical Science

Purpose: To evaluate the tear film function and ocular surface changes in heavily drinking men.

Methods: This prospective case–control study involved 35 male subjects with heavy alcohol consumption (group 1) and 35 age- and sex-matched control subjects (group 2). Best-corrected visual acuity measurement, slit-lamp examination, Schirmer I test, tear film break-up time (BUT) measurement, and conjunctival impression cytology were performed in all subjects. The results were compared between the 2 groups.

Results: The mean Schirmer I test results in group 1 and group 2 were 8.31 ± 3.56 mm and 13.17 ± 5.71 mm, respectively, and the mean BUT values were 9.22 ± 3.10 seconds and 13.20 ± 4.04 seconds, respectively. The mean Schirmer I and BUT results were statistically lower in group 1 than in group 2 (P < 0.0001). The mean impression cytology scores in group 1 and group 2 were 2.08 ± 0.78 and 1.37 ± 0.94, respectively. A statistically significant difference was noted between the study and control groups for the grading of cytological changes (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our data showed that heavily drinking men have decreased tear production, tear film instability, and significant degeneration of the ocular surface epithelium when compared with normal subjects.

Author Information

Departments of *Ophthalmology


Pathology, Inonu University School of Medicine, Malatya, Turkey.

Reprints: Tongabay Cumurcu, Department of Ophthalmology, Inonu University School of Medicine, Malatya 60100, Turkey (e-mail:

The authors state that they have no proprietary interest in the products named in this article.

Received December 20, 2011

Accepted February 23, 2012

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.