Detection of HBs antigen, DNA polymerase activity, and hepatitis B virus DNA in tears: relevance to hepatitis B transmission by tears

Br J Ophthalmol. 1989 May;73(5):333-6. doi: 10.1136/bjo.73.5.333.


Hepatitis B surface antigen, DNA polymerase, and hepatitis B virus DNA have been sought in the tears of 72 patients. These markers were detected in a high percentage of hepatitis B carriers, which proves the presence of hepatitis B virus in the tears and raises the question of its eventual transmission in this way. The severity and extreme contagiousness of hepatitis B together with the increasing number of virus carriers justify systematic sanitary rules among ophthalmic clinicians and staff, but vaccination remains the best mean of limiting the spread of the disease.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Tears / analysis
  • Tears / enzymology
  • Tears / immunology
  • Tears / microbiology*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase