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June 1979

Schirmer Test After Topical Anesthesia and the Tear Meniscus Height in Normal Eyes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Cornea Research, Eye Research Institute of Retina Foundation; Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School and the Cornea Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston (Drs Lamberts and Foster); and Walson Army Hospital, Fort Dix, NJ (Dr Perry). Dr Lamberts is now with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centers, Lubbock.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(6):1082-1085. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020010536004

• The height of the inferior tear meniscus was measured in 86 normal eyes. A value greater than 0.1 mm was obtained in 93% of the eyes that were studied. However, attempts to correlate meniscus height with subsequent Schirmer test results showed that these measurements varied randomly. Schirmer tests that were conducted on 265 eyes without instillation of 0.5% proparacaine hydrochloride and on 466 eyes with proparacaine showed that topical anesthesia reduced mean test values by 40%. When proparacaine was used prior to testing, no decrease in tear production with advancing age was demonstrated, nor were results significantly different in males and females. Schirmer test values, ranging from 0 to 3 mm, were obtained in 15% of the normal volunteers when the test was performed after instillation of topical anesthesia and after blotting of the tear lake from the inferior cul-de-sac.

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