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K.A. Wilcox, G.W. Ousler III, D.W. Welch, M.B. Abelson; Effect of Menopause on the Ocular Protection Index (OPI) in a Population of Dry Eye Patients . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(13):79.
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Purpose: It has been shown that the interaction of the time between blinks or the Inter–Blink Interval (IBI) and tear film break–up time (TFBUT) helps regulate the integrity of an ocular surface. A protected surface exists when the TFBUT matches or exceeds the IBI. In contrast, an unprotected surface exists when TFBUT is less than the IBI. This is clinically relevant since repeated intermittent exposure of a tear film deficient cornea can lead to ocular discomfort and the development of clinical signs such as keratitis and redness. The relationship between TFBUT and IBI has been quantified by the Ocular Protection Index (OPI) which is calculated by dividing TFBUT by IBI. If the OPI is < 1, a patient is at risk and if the OPI is ≥ 1, a patient is not. The OPI has proven to be useful in assessing the factors that can cause and / or exacerbate dry eye. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of menopause on the OPI in a population of dry eye patients. Methods: Fifty–eight (58) women diagnosed with dry eye underwent ophthalmic examinations including visual acuity, blink rate, TFBUT, and fluorescein staining. An OPI was determined and compared between the pre and post menopausal patients. Results: The mean OPI in pre menopausal patients (n = 20) was 1.29 (±1.17) while the mean OPI in post menopausal patient (n = 38) was 0.69 (±0.51). The mean OPI in post menopausal patients was significantly lower than in pre menopausal patients (p = 0.0194). Conclusions: This data suggests that post menopausal dry eye patients have an unprotected ocular surface (a mean OPI < 1), putting them at greater risk of developing the signs and symptoms of dry eye.
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