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Can tear film analysis predict post-lasik lactoferrin concentration?

1 May 2003


Purpose: To determine if tear lactoferrin levels decreases after laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).

Design: Prospective, non-comparative case series, pilot study

Participants: Thirty-one eyes of 8 females and 8 males (age range 33-63, mean 47.9 years) who underwent bilateral LASIK for myopia and astigmatism. One male had LASIK on only his right eye.

Methods: LASIK was performed on thirty-one eyes of 17 subjects. Tear film analysis was performed before and after LASIK, in order to determine the lactoferrin concentration in each subject's tears. Each eye was evaluated one hour prior to LASIK, and then again one day after LASIK. A non-parametric t-test was used for statistical analysis. The results from 6 right eyes and 5 left eyes were eliminated due to poor tear collection, secondary to inadequate tear sample.

Results: There was a significant decrease in tear lactoferrin concentration postoperatively for right and left eyes. The mean lactoferrin concentration for right eyes decreased from 1.12 mg/ml pre-operatively to 0.50 mg/ml post-operatively. The mean lactoferrin concentration for left eyes decreased from 0.97 mg/ml to 0.27 mg/ml post-operatively.

Conclusions: A decrease in tear lactoferrin concentration was observed after LASIK. ln this study, the assumption was made that a decrease in tear lactoferrin levels reflects lacrimal gland malfunction, thereby increasing the risk of post-LASIK dry eye. Most subjects in this study had a decrease in tear lactoferrin after LASIK suggesting a correlational relationship between LASIK and tear lactoferrin decrease. This information is useful in establishing tear baseline levels for patients, as each patient can serve as his or her own control.


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