Tear analysis and lens-tear interactions: Part I. Protein fingerprinting with microfluidic technology

Aisling M. Mann, Brian J. Tighe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this work is to establish the application of a fully automated microfluidic chip based protein separation assay in tear analysis. It is rapid, requires small sample volumes and is vastly superior to, and more convenient than, comparable conventional gel electrophoresis assays. The protein sizing chip technology was applied to three specific fields of analysis. Firstly tear samples were collected regularly from subjects establishing the baseline effects of tear stimulation, tear state and patient health. Secondly tear samples were taken from lens wearing eyes and thirdly the use of microfluidic technology was assessed as a means to investigate a novel area of tear analysis, which we have termed the 'tear envelope'. Utilising the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer in combination with the Protein 200 Plus LabChip kit, these studies investigated tear proteins in the range of 14-200 kDa. Particular attention was paid to the relative concentrations of lysozyme, tear lipocalin, secretory IgA (sIgA), IgG and lactoferrin, together with the overall tear electropherogram 'fingerprint'. Furthermore, whilst lens-tear interaction studies are generally thought of as an investigation into the effects of tears components on the contact lens material, i.e. deposition studies, this report addresses the reverse phenomenon-the effect of the lens, and particularly the newly inserted lens, on the tear fluid composition and dynamics. The use of microfluidic technology provides a significant advance in tear studies and should prove invaluable in tear diagnostics and contact lens performance analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • tears
  • tear envelope
  • contact lenses
  • microfluidics
  • protein sizing


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