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.