The members of the Tear Film Subcommittee reviewed the role of the tear film in dry eye disease (DED). The Subcommittee reviewed biophysical and biochemical aspects of tears and how these change in DED. Clinically, DED is characterized by loss of tear volume, more rapid breakup of the tear film and increased evaporation of tears from the ocular surface. The tear film is composed of many substances including lipids, proteins, mucins and electrolytes. All of these contribute to the integrity of the tear film but exactly how they interact is still an area of active research. Tear film osmolarity increases in DED. Changes to other components such as proteins and mucins can be used as biomarkers for DED. The Subcommittee recommended areas for future research to advance our understanding of the tear film and how this changes with DED. The final report was written after review by all Subcommittee members and the entire TFOS DEWS II membership.
Keywords: Dry eye disease; Evaporation; Lipidome; Mucin; Osmolarity; Proteome; Tear film; Tear film stability; Tears.
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