Comparison between Tear Film Osmolar Cocentration and Other Tear Film Function Parameters in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus
Purpose: To evaluate tear film function in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) using tear film osmolarity (TFO) measurements compared to other tear film function tests. Methods: DM patients without any history of ocular surface disorder but with potential effects on the tear film were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Data including dry eye symptoms, duration of DM, stage of diabetic retinopathy and blood hemoglobin A1c levels were recorded. Tear film break-up time (TBUT) and basic tear secretion (Schirmer test) were assessed. TFO was determined using the Tearlab Osmolarity System. The outcome measures were the difference between the mean values of TBUT, basic tear secretion and TFO in both the study and control groups. Results: We recruited 51 DM patients and 20 control subjects with a mean age of 51.2 (range, 21 to 70) and 48.5 (range, 24 to 70) years, respectively. A total of 27 patients (53%) and 11 controls (55%) reported dry eye symptoms (p = 0.668). The mean TBUT was 10.2 + 4.8 seconds in the study group versus 10.5 + 2.8 seconds in controls, which was not significantly different (p = 0.747). The mean Schirmer test score was 8.1 + 4.3 mm in the patients versus 10.1 + 3.0 mm in the controls (p = 0.069). The mean TFO was 294.1 + 12.9 mosmol/L in the patients versus 291.4 + 14.5 mosmol/L in the controls (p = 0.456). It was significantly higher in patients with poor glycemic control determined by hemoglobin A1c > 8% (p = 0.003). TFO had a positive correlation with the duration of DM (p = 0.030) but not with the stage of diabetic retinopathy (p = 0.944). However, TFO showed a significant relationship with dry eye symptoms (p = 0.001). Conclusions: TFO is impaired in patients with uncontrolled DM and is better correlated with glycemic control and dry eye symptoms than the TBUT and Schirmer tests.