Effect of oral contraceptives on tear physiology

Alan Tomlinson, Edward Pearce, Peter A. Simmons, Kenny J. Blades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Variations in sex hormones due to the menstrual cycle (and oral contraceptives) were evaluated for their effect on tear physiology. Subjects were 18 females taking oral contraceptives or their age matched controls (no medication), aged 21–33 years. Symptoms of ocular discomfort (visual analog scale), tear film structure (TearScope), non-invasive tear thinning time (HirCal grid), evaporation rate (ServoMed evaporimeter), osmolality (Nanolitre Osmometer), tear turnover rate, tear volume (Fluorotron Master), and tear protein levels (HPLC) were measured around day 2 (D2), actually day 1–4 and day 19 (D19) actually day 18–21 of the cycle. No significant differences were found for any tear parameters between D2 and D19 for either pill users or controls alone, or in the comparison of pill users with controls. No effect on tear physiology was found for serum hormone changes induced by oral contraceptive use or by normal cyclic variations in healthy young females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • tear physiology
  • vision sciences
  • oral contraceptives


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