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Estimating Tear Film Spread and Stability Through Tear Hydrodynamics

Varikooty, Jalaiah; Keir, Nancy; Simpson, Trefford

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182644cb7
Original Articles

Purpose. The stability and ease of spread of the tear-film over the contact lens surface may be an indicator of contact lens surface dewetting. The present in vivo methods of determining lens dewetting are complex. This study introduces a novel and objective way of determining the upward spread and stability of the tear-film through measurement of tear-film particle dynamics.

Methods. Ten adapted contact lens wearers wore the same type of contact lens. Using a video camera mounted to a slit-lamp, the tear-film spread over the lens surface was recorded after a blink, at 8× magnification and capture rate of 30 frames per second, at morning after lens insertion, and after 8 h of lens wear. Images from 20 videos, without blinks and without an observable change in fixation were analyzed without any further postprocessing of the images. Using a customized calibrated ImageJ macro for particle tracking, the velocity of naturally occurring reflective particles was determined. The results were analyzed using the R program and ProFit.

Results. The results established that the upward particle velocity was highest immediately after a blink and declined with time. The spread of the tear film measured through upward particle velocity was different on lens insertion than after 8 h of lens wear (p = 0.001). The exponential time constants ± SE were 346.02 ± 29.0 for lens insertion at morning and 1413.13 ± 419.6 after 8 h of lens wear.

Conclusions. A novel and non-invasive way to measure in vivo spread and stability of the prelens tear-film has been developed. Additional studies are needed to understand whether this simple measure is able to differentiate the performance of different soft contact lenses and how this method may help in the understanding other aspects of lens performance such as non-invasive tear breakup time, surface deposition, and lens comfort.



MSc, PhD

Centre for Contact Lens Research, (JV, NK), and School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Received October 1, 2011; accepted May 2, 2012.

Jalaiah Varikooty Centre for Contact Lens Research, School of Optometry University of Waterloo 200 University Avenue West Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada e-mail:

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry