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Clin Exp Optom. 2002 Jan;85(1):37-41.

Non-invasive tear break-up time in normal Malays.

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Department of Optometry, National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



Tear stability in normal Malays with consideration of gender and age has not been reported. In this study, we measured tear stability in normal Malays using the non-invasive tear break-up time (NIBUT).


Forty-eight Malay subjects aged seven to 60 years were recruited from among the staff, their children and students of the faculty. NIBUT was measured by noting the time taken for distortions to appear in a reflected image of a grid pattern formed on the corneal surface.


The mean NIBUT of the sample was 15.8 +/- 9.4 (SD) seconds. The median was 14.6 seconds with range of 4.2 seconds to 48.6 seconds. The majority (73 per cent) of subjects had NIBUT values between six and 20 seconds. There was no significant difference in NIBUT values between males and females but there was a decrease of NIBUT with age.


The NIBUT values found in this study are comparable to those reported for Asian populations but much less than those of Western populations. Our findings point to the need for local clinical studies in contact lens and contact lens-related research as tear physiology of the local population may not be the same as in Western populations.

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