Study of conjunctival impression cytology in assessing goblet cell density in dry eyes


  • T. S. K. Gautam Department of Pathology, Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, AP
  • M. Vasundhara Department of Pathology, Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, AP
  • P. Viswamithra Department of Ophthalmology, Andhra Medical College/Regional eye Hospital, Visakhapatnam, AP
  • A. Bhagya Lakshmi Department of Pathology, Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, AP



Dry eye, Impression cytology, Goblet cell density


Background: Dry eye is a chronic multi-factorial condition characterized by disturbances in the tear film and ocular surface with a decrease in goblet cells which can be assessed by conjunctival impression cytology (CIC) which is as effective as biopsy for diagnostic purposes. It helps establish not only the diagnosis of dry eye but also aids in grading the severity. This is a highly sensitive method to detect pathological changes in the conjunctival surface and confirm the clinical diagnosis. The aim of the study was to determine the goblet cell density by impression cytology, grading the severity of dry eyes and comparing the study with other studies.

Methods: Study was conducted for a period of 2 yrs from August 2011 to July 2013 in 80 patients above 20 yrs age with clinically established diagnosis of dry eye who were subjected to conjunctival imprint cytology and stained with PAS to estimate he goblet cell density.

Results: Out of the 80 cases of dry eye studied 45 were females and 35 were males with a female to male ratio of 1.28: 1 with a slight female preponderance. Age of the patients ranged from 21yrso 73 yrs. CIC showed positivity in 43 cases (53.75%) and negative in 37 cases (46.25%). 39 cases (90.70%) of positive CIC were above the age of 40 years.

Conclusions: Dry eyes were found to be more common in age group above 40yrs with slight female preponderance. CIC showed decreased goblet cell density with increasing age in clinically diagnosed dry eyes.


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How to Cite

Gautam, T. S. K., Vasundhara, M., Viswamithra, P., & Lakshmi, A. B. (2017). Study of conjunctival impression cytology in assessing goblet cell density in dry eyes. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(12), 3819–3823.



Original Research Articles