This study was performed to investigate the changes of tear film and ocular surface in diabetic patients, as well as the ocular and systemic factors related to these changes. We assessed the scoring of keratoepitheliopathy, corneal sensitivity test, tear film break-up time (BUT), Schirmer test, and conjunctival impression cytology in 94 eyes of 47 patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and in 60 eyes of 30 normal subjects. The degree of keratoepitheliopathy was severe, and the corneal sensitivity, BUT, and tear secretion were significantly reduced in the diabetic patients. Conjunctival impression cytology showed a higher grade of conjunctival squamous metaplasia and lower goblet cell density in the diabetic patients. All parameters were related to the status of metabolic control, diabetic neuropathy, and stage of diabetic retinopathy. We think that diabetic patients with poor metabolic control, neuropathy, and advanced stage of retinopathy should be examined for tear film and ocular surface changes.
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