Lid wiper epitheliopathy (LWE) is an epitheliopathy of the marginal conjunctival portion of the eyelids that wipes the ocular surface during blinking. Although LWE is often observed in patients with dry eye, the factors determining LWE severity in dry eye remain unknown. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between LWE, tear abnormalities, and blinks in dry eye.
This study involved 76 eyes of 76 female patients with dry eye (mean age: 57.2 yrs). In all eyes, tear meniscus radius, spread grade (SG) of the tear film lipid layer (ie, SG 1–5, with 1 being the best), fluorescein breakup time (FBUT), fluorescein breakup pattern, corneal and bulbar conjunctival epithelial damage (CED: 15 points maximum; CjED: 6 points maximum, respectively), upper eyelid LWE grade (3 points maximum), and Schirmer 1 test were evaluated. Blink rate, palpebral aperture height, upper eyelid opening/closing-phase amplitude, upper eyelid opening/closing-phase duration, and upper eyelid opening/closing-phase maximum velocity were measured by the use of a custom-made high-speed blink analyzer. Finally, the factors that determine the LWE grade were investigated by multiple regression analysis, in which the parameters were chosen using the stepwise procedure.
Significant correlations were found between LWE grade and tear meniscus radius, SG, FBUT, CED, CjED, and Schirmer 1 test (P < 0.002). LWE grade was found to be described as −0.001 + (0.283 × SG) − (0.253 × FBUT) + (0.003 × upper eyelid closing-phase maximum velocity) (R2 = 0.57, P < 0.0001). The prevalence and grade of LWE were significantly higher in aqueous deficient dry eye.
Tear volume, tear film stability, and blink should be considered as factors for determining LWE severity.