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K.A. Wilcox Hagberg, G.W. Ousler, III, J.S. Casavant, D.L. Welch, M.B. Abelson; Effect of Menopause on the Ocular Protection Index (OPI) in a Population of Dry Eye Patients of Ashkenazi Jewish Descent . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):4470.
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Purpose: It has been previously shown that menopause has an effect on tear film stability and the inter–blink interval (IBI), as measured by the Ocular Protection Index (OPI) in a group of dry eye patients. We hypothesize that increases in IBI may be due to decreased corneal sensitivity. One in 32 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of familial dysautonomia, which is a genetic disease known for its hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies, and it has ocular manifestations including the signs and symptoms of dry eye, specifically defects in lacrimation and corneal sensitivity. This study examines the OPI in pre and post menopausal dry eye patients and age matched male dry eye patients of Ashkenazi Jewish decent who have decreased corneal sensitivity. Methods: : Patients of Ashkenazi Jewish descent diagnosed with dry eye (N=66) underwent ophthalmic examinations, including visual acuity, blink rate, TFBUT, and corneal sensitivity (CS). An OPI was determined and compared between groups. Results: The mean OPI score for pre menopausal Ashkenazi Jewish patients was 0.68±0.46, while the mean OPI score for post menopausal Ashkenazi Jewish patients was 0.73±0.49. For age matched Ashkenazi Jewish male patients, the mean OPI scores were 0.63±0.43 and 0.90±0.73, respectively. The mean OPI score for Ashkenazi Jewish patients with CS ≤ 5 cm (0.63±0.39) was significantly lower than the mean OPI score for patients with CS > 5 cm (0.92±0.55)(p=0.02). Conclusions: This data suggests that dry eye patients of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have an unprotected ocular surface (a mean OPI < 1), regardless of menopausal status, putting them at greater risk of developing or exacerbating the signs and symptoms of dry eye. Further studies examining the impact of corneal sensitivity on the OPI are warranted.
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