Chronologic Analysis of Tear Dynamics on Blinking Using Quantitative Manometry in Healthy Humans

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2022 Jan-Feb;38(1):22-28. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000001962.


Purpose: To analyze the tear dynamics during blinking by measuring the inner pressure of the upper lacrimal drainage system.

Methods: This observational study involved 11 healthy bi- or tricenarian volunteers. Direct manometry was performed using a fiber optic pressure sensor inserted into the conjunctival sac, upper/lower canaliculus (5 mm from punctum), and inferior lacrimal sac (15 mm from punctum) during both involuntary and intentional tight blinking. Pressure was measured 200 times/second during 3 separate blinks and then chronologically analyzed.

Results: In all subjects of all locations during both types of blinking, the inner pressures during the stationary eyelid closing/opening were positive/approximately zero, while a positive/negative pressure spike was observed during the eyelid closing/opening movement. The averages of the maximum pressure in the spike during the intentional tight blinking (tPmax: mm Hg) in the conjunctival sac, upper/lower canaliculus, and lacrimal sac were 8.00, 12.39/12.93, and 10.59, respectively, while for the minimum (tPmin: mm Hg), the pressures were -3.18, -3.91/-3.43, and -3.31, respectively. The tPmax and tPmin in the lacrimal duct were positively correlated with that of the conjunctival sac, which suggested synchronism of the drainage system. However, the tPmax in the canaliculus was significantly higher than that of the conjunctival sac, which suggested that tears do not flow from the conjunctival sac into the lacrimal duct during eyelid closure.

Conclusions: The upper lacrimal drainage system functions as one united lumen in the lacrimal pump. The positive /negative pressure spike is essential for the lacrimal pump to efficiently eject/aspirate the tear from the lacrimal/conjunctival sac.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Blinking
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus*
  • Manometry
  • Nasolacrimal Duct*
  • Tears