A new hyperspectral imaging method can measure the mucoaqueous layer thickness as well as other tear film functions, according to a recent report. An investigational device, called the tear film imager (TFI) by its developers, is designed to give doctors a objective and observable measures to aid the diagnosis and management of dry eye disease (DED).

Researchers, who will present their findings on Thursday at ARVO 2019, used the TFI, which takes approximately 40 seconds, to measure 49 patients’ aqueous layer thicknesses and average at a nanometer level. Additionally, it was used to measure the lipid layer thickness at a sub-nanometer level and establish average thickness and lipid break-up time (LBUT). These findings were then compared with those of the following existing dry eye monitoring techniques: Schirmer testing, tear film break-up times (TBUT), tear meniscus height, corneal fluorescein staining and a patient questionnaire.

The international team of investigators found that the TFI method could accurately diagnose DED with 87% sensitivity and 88% specificity. Of particular interest, the reproducibility of the mucoaqueous layer thickness measurement, which has not been evaluated with any prior technology, was significantly correlated with Schirmer scoring and the LBUT scoring was significantly correlated with TBUT scoring.

Gefen R, Segev F, Geffen N, et al. A new hyperspectral imaging method to evaluate dry eye disease – 3D-WLT study results. ARVO 2019. Abstract 6780 - B0304.