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Tear Osmolarity and Dry Eye Symptoms in Women Using Oral Contraception and Contact Lenses

Chen, Sarah P. MD; Massaro-Giordano, Giacomina MD; Pistilli, Maxwell MEd, MS; Schreiber, Courtney A. MD, MPH; Bunya, Vatinee Y. MD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182662390
Clinical Science

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship among oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use, contact lens wear, and dry eye signs and symptoms in healthy young women.

Methods: Fifty-two women using OCPs and 45 women not using any form of hormonal contraception were enrolled. Medical, menstrual, and contact lens histories were obtained and dry eye symptoms assessed using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Symptom Assessment iN Dry Eye (SANDE) questionnaires. Tear osmolarity testing was performed using the TearLab Osmolarity System.

Results: The mean age of all subjects was 26.0 ± 3.7 years. There were no significant differences in any of the measurements between the follicular and luteal phases. Although SANDE scores were significantly higher in subjects with OCP and recent contact lens use (P < 0.01), there were no significant differences in OSDI and tear osmolarity among the same subject groups. Subjects who reported both OCP and recent contact lens use had significantly higher OSDI and SANDE scores (P = 0.015 and P < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions: There were no differences between the phases of the menstrual cycle. Tear osmolarity was not affected by OCP or contact lens use in young women. However, the combination of OCP use and contact lens wear may increase the severity of dry eye symptoms.

Departments of *Ophthalmology

Obstetrics and Gynecology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Reprints: Vatinee Y. Bunya, Scheie Eye Institute, 51 N 39th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:

Supported by Research to Prevent Blindness (to G.M.-G.). V. Y. Bunya has received research supplies from TearLab for a separate study and is supported by the Penn Vision Clinical Scientist Program (Award K12-EY-015398) and Research to Prevent Blindness.

The authors state that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received February 17, 2012

Accepted June 22, 2012

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.