Assessment of tear film dynamics: auantification approach

Alan Tomlinson*, Santosh Khanal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamics of the tear film are reviewed with specific reference to the biophysical aspects: distribution, turnover and elimination through evaporation, drainage, and absorption. The review concentrates on quantitative assessments and is confined to aspects of the dynamics that can be fully and directly measured. The techniques of fluorophotometry, fluorescein clearance, lacrimal scintigraphy, evaporimetry and osmometry are described. Reports in the literature for values of tear turnover (flow), evaporation and osmolarity for normal and dry eyes are collated. Indices of tear film dynamics based on these measurements, including tear function index, total tear flow, and osmolarity, are discussed in relation to their potential in the differential diagnosis of dry eye and new referent values for the disease suggested. The limitations of derivation and application of these indices are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-95
Number of pages15
JournalOcular Surface
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Absorption
  • Distribution
  • Evaporation
  • Osmolarity
  • Tear dynamics
  • Tear indices
  • Tear turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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