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Article
May 1994

Detection of Hepatitis B Virus DNA in Tears by Polymerase Chain Reaction

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, The University of Melbourne (Australia) (Drs Su, Fong, and Taylor), and the Virology Department, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, (Dr Bowden), Victoria, Australia.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(5):621-625. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090170065024
Abstract

Objective:  To assess the possibility of transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) via tears.

Methods:  Tear and plasma specimens were collected from 36 carriers of HBV, and the presence of HBV DNA was investigated using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Results:  Ten (29.4%) of the 34 carriers of chronic HBV and one of the two patients with acute hepatitis B had plasma specimens that were positive for HBV DNA using PCR. Sixteen (47.1%) of the 34 carriers of chronic HBV had tear specimens that were repeatedly positive for HBV DNA using PCR, 10 (29.4%) had tear specimens that were repeatedly negative, and the remaining eight (23.5%) had tear specimens that were equivocal. Both of the patients with acute hepatitis B had tear specimens that were positive for HBV DNA using PCR.

Conclusion:  Hepatitis B virus DNA can be demonstrated in the tears of carriers, even those who were asymptomatic.

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