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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; 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.

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

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