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Randomized comparison of in vivo performance of two point-of-care tear film osmometers

Authors Nolfi J, Caffery B

Received 18 February 2017

Accepted for publication 25 April 2017

Published 22 May 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 945—950


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Jerry Nolfi, Barbara Caffery

Toronto Eye Care Optometric Clinic, Toronto, ON, Canada

Purpose: To compare the in vivo precision of two commercially available point-of-care osmometers among normal subjects with no dry eye disease.
Twenty healthy adults with healthy ocular surfaces were evaluated by licensed eye care practitioners. All subjects had low Ocular Surface Disease Index score (<5), normal tear breakup time (>10 seconds), and no evidence of corneal fluorescein staining. Five consecutive measurements of tear osmolarity were measured on each eye using each of the two osmo­meters: the TearLab Osmolarity System (TearLab) and the I-Med i-Pen (i-Pen), for a total of 200 measurements per device. Performance of the osmometers was determined by specificity, estimated by the percentage of osmolarity data at or below the clinical cutoff (308 mOsm/L) and precision, and represented by the standard deviation per subject. In addition, to assess analytical performance, on each day of patient testing, standardized osmolarity quality control solutions (338 mOsm/L) were tested on the TearLab per manufacturer instructions. i-Pen manufacturer instructions do not neither provide for, nor recommend quality control procedures.
Results: The mean age of the 20 subjects was 27±8 years (range: 19–48 years, 16 females, four males). Over 2 months of testing, the TearLab reported analytical performance on quality control solutions of 335.8±4.2 mOsm/L with a coefficient of variation of 1.3%. In the subject cohort, 90.9% of TearLab measurements were in the normal range ≤308 mOsm/L. The i-Pen reported 37.5% of all measurements in the normal range. The average intra-subject osmolarity of the TearLab was 295.4±8.6 mOsm/L, which was significantly lower and less variable than the i-Pen, which reported an average of 319.4±20.3 mOsm/L (P<0.001). When the measurements were grouped by subject, the TearLab accurately identified 100% of subjects as normal while the i-Pen accurately identified only 15% of subjects as normal.
Conclusion: In this randomized comparative study of two point-of-care osmometers among normal, healthy non-dry eye subjects, the TearLab Osmolarity System demonstrated accuracy, precision, and agreement with clinical interpretation in line with the manufacturer claims. The i-Pen lacked sufficient performance to delineate subjects with and without dry eye disease.

Keywords: tear osmolarity, TearLab osmolarity system, i-Pen osmolarity, precision

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