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Repeatability of Noninvasive Break-Up Time Measurements using Keratograph Oculus 3

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Aim: The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the repeatability of noninvasive break-up time (NIBUT) measurement by keratograph when it is determined from one, two or three partial measurements, and to recommend a suitable methodology for practice. Another goal is to verify that repeated measurements do not affect the measured value.

Material and Methods: Thirty-eight healthy volunteers (30 women and 8 men) aged between 19 and 50 years old were included in the study, in which only one eye of each volunteer was measured. The study was designed as a prospective one. Each subject adapted to the local conditions of the laboratory for 15 minutes and subsequently underwent two series of NIBUT measurements (test, retest) on an OCULUS 3 Keratograph. The minimum time interval between the two series was 10 minutes, in which each series contained three partial measurements approximately 3 three measurements in the given series. Repeatability was assessed by a Bland-Altman analysis and expressed as a repeatability coefficient. In every case, only the time of the first break-up of the tear film was monitored.

Results: The statistical analysis did not show statistically significant differences both between partial measurements of NIBUT in the individual series (p = 0.92, p = 0.81) and when comparing all six measurements (p = 0.95). The mean values of the partial measurements ranged from 13.6 s to 14.4 s. The repeatability coefficients were found to be 15.0 s, 12.1 s and 10.0 s for methodologies A, B and C, respectively. A supplementary analysis for 12 eyes with low NIBUT (< 10 s) showed statistically significantly better repeatability in this group, with coefficients of 7.0 s (methodology A), 6.0 s
(B) and 4.6 s (C).

Conclusion: Determination of NIBUT from three consecutive measurements (with a sufficient interval of ideally a few minutes) significantly improves repeatability. Such repeated NIBUT measurements do not have a significant effect on the measured value. The mentioned methodology for measuring NIBUT on a keratograph can be recommended for use in practice.