June 2017
Volume 58, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2017
UV damage of the eye – microstructural study at latitude of 430 at sea level
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christina N Grupcheva
    Ophthalmology and visual science, Medical University - Varna, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Dimitar I Grupchev
    Ophthalmology and visual science, Medical University - Varna, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Mladena N Radeva
    Ophthalmology and visual science, Medical University - Varna, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Christina Grupcheva, None; Dimitar Grupchev, None; Mladena Radeva, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Unrestricted grant for research by Johnson and Johnson
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2017, Vol.58, 4368. doi:
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      Christina N Grupcheva, Dimitar I Grupchev, Mladena N Radeva; UV damage of the eye – microstructural study at latitude of 430 at sea level. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):4368.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : To evaluate the UV protection subjects, encounter eventual microstructural changes at the ocular surface and follow their dynamics using in vivo confocal microscopy, during summer season at 430 latitude.

Methods : For a period of 4 months 200 subjects (400 eyes), aged 28 ± 7.3 years, were recruited with the agreement that they will spend their summer exclusively in the Varna region (beach resort on the Black sea at 430 latitude) and will be examined before and after the summer season. Laser scanning in vivo confocal microscopy was performed with HRT II Rostock corneal module and 5 corneal, 4 conjunctival and 4 lid areas were examined for both eyes.

Results : Questionnaire results demonstrated that 83.5% (167 participants) of the subjects were considering the sun dangerous for their eyes, but 78% (156 subjects) believed that the danger is exclusively during the summer period. Microstructural analysis of the cornea, demonstrated a slightly decreased number of the basal epithelial density – from 6167 ± 151 cells/mm2 to 5829 ± 168 cells/mm2, which also was statistically significant.
Analysis of the conjunctiva demonstrated characteristic cystic lesions with dark centres and bright borders, encountered only in 25 eyes (6 %) before and affecting 118 eyes (29.5%) after the summer season, as presented on the figure. The total area of the cysts after the summer increased five times. Spearman correlation proved negative correlation between sun protection of the eyes and number of cysts was established. Further complex analysis, demonstrated the tendency to return to the baseline of all encountered features, although some parameters did not return to the baseline.

Conclusions : Summer sun exposure for one season at 430 latitude leads to clinically undetectable, microstructural changes affecting the cornea, bulbar and palpebral conjunctiva with transient nature. The long term effect of those changes leads to “solar ageing of the anterior ocular surface”, which appear to be similar to the skin damage. Development of methods for anterior ocular surface protection together with increasing the public awareness of sun related damage of the anterior eye, would, have significant health and social impact in the future.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.



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