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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2013 Mar;13(2):119-29. doi: 10.1586/erm.12.142.

TearLabĀ® Osmolarity System for diagnosing dry eye.

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  • 1Ophthalmology Unit, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi Teaching Hospital, Pad. 1 Palagi, Via Palagi 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.


Dry eye (DE) disease is an impairment of the lachrymal unit function and one the most frequent eye problems. A major challenge is to find accurate diagnostic criteria to be able to define DE severity, as symptoms poorly correlate with clinical signs. Tear osmolarity is considered a key factor in DE onset and perpetuation; its measurement is now possible in clinical setting by an innovative electrical impedance-based lab-on-a-chip technology. This article outlines the features of DE disease and the limitations of current clinical tests. The role of tear osmolarity in DE etiopathogenesis is surveyed, and the pitfalls in measurement are discussed. Diagnostic performance, accuracy and clinical applications of the technology in focus are critically reviewed. The instrument offers the possibility to measure tear osmolarity in a rapid and reliable way in daily practice. As scientific evidence grows, it is expected in the future that it will represent an objective indicator of ocular surface health in the management of DE disease and in clinical trials.

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