Reference values, intertest correlations, and test-retest repeatability of selected tear film tests in healthy cats

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Objective—To determine reference values, intertest correlations, and test-retest repeatability of Schirmer tear test 1 (STT-1), phenol red thread test (PRTT), tear film breakup time (TFBUT), tear osmolarity, and meibometry in healthy cats. Design—Evaluation study. Animals—135 healthy domestic cats aged 0.5 to 12.8 years. Procedures—Each test was performed once in 120 cats and repeated in 40. Pearson correlation was used to assess correlation among tests. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were used to evaluate test-retest repeatability. Results—Median (95% central range) values were 18 mm/min (9 to 34 mm/min) for STT-1, 29 mm/15 s (15 to 37 mm/15 s) for PRTT, 12.4 seconds (9.1 to 17.7 seconds) for TFBUT, 322 mOsm/L (297 to 364 mOsm/L) for osmolarity, and 32 meibometry units (MU; 11 to 114 MU) for peak meibometry value. The STT-1 and PRTT values were positively correlated. Age was weakly associated with TFBUT and osmolarity. Meibometry measurements were higher for strips that contacted the tear film (285 MU) than for those that touched the eyelid margin only (32 MU). All ICCs were < 0.75, and 95% LOA were wide. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tear deficiency should be suspected in cats with STT-1 < 9 mm/min, PRTT < 15 mm/15 s, or TFBUT < 9 to 10 seconds. Generally poor correlation among tests suggested that thorough tear film analysis requires performance of multiple tests in concert. Relatively poor test-retest repeatability should be considered when repeated tests are used to monitor tear film dysfunction and response to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-435
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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