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Ziwei Wu, Carolyn G. Begley, Ping Situ, Trefford Simpson; The Effects of Increasing Ocular Surface Stimulation on Blinking and Sensation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(3):1555-1563. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.13-13780.
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The purpose of this study was to determine how increasing ocular surface stimulation affected blinking and sensation, while controlling task concentration.
Ten healthy subjects concentrated on a task while a custom pneumatic device generated air flow toward the central cornea. Six flow rates (FRs) were randomly presented three times each and subjects used visual analog scales to record their sensory responses. The interblink interval (IBI) and the FR were recorded simultaneously and the IBI, sensory response, and corresponding FR were determined for each trial. The FR associated with a statistically significant decrease in IBI, the blink increase threshold (BIT), was calculated for each subject.
Both the mean and SD of IBI were decreased with increasing stimulation, from 5.69 ± 3.96 seconds at baseline to 1.02 ± 0.37 seconds at maximum stimulation. The average BIT was 129 ± 20 mL/min flow rate with an IBI of 2.33 ± 1.10 seconds (permutation test, P < 0.001). After log transformation, there was a significant linear function between increasing FR and decreasing IBI within each subject (Pearson's r ≤ −0.859, P < 0.05). The IBI was highly correlated with wateriness, discomfort, and cooling ratings (Pearson's r ≤ −0.606, P < 0.001).
There was a dose-response–like relationship between increased surface stimulation and blinking in healthy subjects, presumably for protection of the ocular surface. The blink response was highly correlated with ocular surface sensation, which is not surprising given their common origins. The BIT, a novel metric, may provide an additional end point for studies on dry eye or other conditions.
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