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Patients With Dry Eye Without Hepatitis C Virus Infection Possess the Viral RNA in Their Tears

Rajalakshmy, Ayilam Ramachandran MSc; Malathi, Jambulingam PhD; Madhavan, Hajib Naraharirao MD, PhD; Bhaskar, Srinivasan MD; Iyer, Geetha Krishnan MD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000304
Clinical Science
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Purpose: Dry eye is one of the suggested extrahepatic complications associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. HCV RNA has been detected from the tear fluid of patients with chronic HCV. There has been no literature evidence on the presence of HCV RNA in the tear fluid of patients with dry eye without HCV infection. In this study, tear fluid of patients with dry eye with no HCV infection was screened for the presence of HCV RNA.

Methods: Tear fluid was collected from patients with dry eye (n = 36) and healthy controls (n = 20). Real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed to detect HCV RNA in the tear fluid. Anti-HCV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, alkaline phosphatase, and alanine aminotransferase tests were performed in the serum samples collected from 15 patients with dry eye.

Results: Viral RNA was detected in 58.3% of the patients. Serum samples collected from 15 patients with dry eye were negative for anti-HCV. Alkaline phosphatase levels were elevated in 12 of 15 patients. Alanine aminotransferase levels were normal in all 15 patients. The odds ratio for the presence of HCV RNA in patients with dry eye was 22.4.

Conclusions: These results indicate a direct correlation between dry eye and HCV in non-HCV patients.

*L & T Microbiology Research Centre, Vision Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India;

Centre for Nanotechnology and Advanced Biomaterials, SASTRA, Thanjavur, India; and

Medical Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India.

Reprints: Hajib Naraharirao Madhavan, MD, PhD, L & T Microbiology Research Centre, Vision Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai 600 066, India (e-mail: drhnm@snmail.org).

Supported by funding from Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (BT/PR1028/med/29/303/2011). A. R. Rajalakshmy receives a fellowship from the INSPIRE fellowship program (IF110775), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received August 07, 2014

Received in revised form September 26, 2014

Accepted September 28, 2014

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