To analyze the pathophysiological differences between patients with dry eye disease (DED) having different tear film break-up patterns (TBUPs).
This investigative analysis involved 91 eyes of 91 patients with DED who were divided into two groups: those with “dot” break-up pattern (group I) and those with “random” break-up pattern (group II). Clinical severity was evaluated using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Oxford stain score system (OSS) score, and tear film break-up time (TF-BUT). Eighteen patients in group I and 17 patients in group II were selected for sampling of tears and the conjunctiva, and the concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and mucin in the tears and conjunctival tissue were measured.
Thirty-seven patients were classified as group I and 54 patients as group II. Patients in group I had a statistically lower TF-BUT and a higher OSS score than those in group II, whereas the OSDI was not statistically different between the groups. The concentrations of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 were statistically higher in group I than those in group II. Impression cytology showed that the expression of IL-1β and IL-8 was higher in group I, whereas that of other genes was not statistically different.
We were able to clearly classify patients with DED with different TBUPs into two groups, and each group had different clinical and pathophysiological characteristics. In patients with the dot break-up pattern, the disease was strongly associated with ocular surface inflammation, as opposed to that in patients without this pattern.