Osmolarity of basal and reflex tears of normal dogs

Irini D. Lamkin, Kelli L. Zimmerman, Kathryn M. Smith Fleming, Bianca C. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare basal and reflex tear osmolarity in healthy dogs and to evaluate for correlation among tear film osmolarity, tear production, and tear fern pattern. Animals studied: The population consisted of 22 healthy adult dogs. Procedures: Reflex tear osmolarity was measured in both eyes using the I-PEN® VET osmometer 30 minutes following the Schirmer tear test (STT-1) measurement. Subsequently, two minutes following topical anesthetic application, the lacrimal lake and conjunctival fornices were dried, and 3 minutes later, basal tear osmolarity was measured. Tears were extracted from the dye-free STT-1 strip by centrifugation, placed on a glass slide, and the ferning pattern was determined by light microscopy. Comparisons between basal and reflex tears were performed with one-way ANOVA. Correlations between tear osmolarity, STT-1, and tear ferning were verified by Pearson's correlation coefficient. Results: No statistical difference was found between right and left eyes for STT-1, tear fern pattern, and osmolarity of reflex or basal tears (P <.05). There was no statistical difference between osmolarity of basal and reflex tears among individuals (P <.05). No correlation was detected between tear fern pattern and osmolarity of reflex tears. A weak positive correlation was detected between STT-1 values and osmolarity of reflex, but not basal tears. Conclusions: The osmolarity of basal tears did not differ from that of reflex tears. A positive weak correlation exists between tear production and osmolarity of reflex tears. No correlation was detected between tear osmolarity measured by handheld osmometer and tear ferning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-753
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • basal tears
  • dog
  • osmolarity
  • reflex tears
  • tear film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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