Contact: The Department of Optometry, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin.
Human tear fluid is a complex mixture containing solute, proteins, lipids and electrolytes, that contains distinct biochemistries which underlie distinct functions. This appears to change in response to systemic disease including dry eye disease, glaucoma, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the eye such as retinopathy associated with diabetes. This study assessed the concentration sodium, potassium and chloride present in tears of diabetics. Twenty diabetic subjects visiting Department for Health Services, University of Benin and forty non-diabetic subjects within University of Benin who were between the ages 18 to 65 years were involved in the study. Tears sample was collected using 75mm micro-point glass capillary tubes. Sodium and Potassium concentration were analyzed using Sherwood scientific flame photometer model 410 and Chloride was analysed by titration technique. The fasting blood sugar in the diabetics (134.85mg/dl) was significantly higher (P=0.0001) than the non-diabetics (87.00mg/dl). Results showed that the tear potassium levels in diabetics (18.57±2.11mmol/L) was significantly (P=0.008) lower than the control (33.19±4.82mmol/L) while sodium (127.10±14.46mmol/L, P=0.651) and chloride (145.89±10.62mmol/L, P=0.288) tear levels in the diabetic group showed a non-significant lower concentration than the non-diabetics (137.08±16.50mmol/L and 158.93±5.71mmol/L respectively). This study concluded that been diabetic can affect the levels of these electrolytes in tears.
Keywords: Tears, Diabetes, Tears electrolyte, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride