Clinical appearance and microscopic analysis of mucin balls associated with contact lens wear

Thomas J. Millar*, Eric B. Papas, Jerome Ozkan, Isabelle Jalbert, Malcolm Ball

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The structure of mucin balls collected from silicone hydrogel contact lens wearers was examined to determine their nature. Methods: Tears containing mucin balls were collected using a capillary tube. These were processed for light microscopic histochemistry, scanning electron microscopy, and electron microscopic elemental analysis. Mucin balls were also observed in vivo using confocal microscopy. Results: Histology showed that the mucin balls were PAS positive, indicating that glycoproteins form a major component. Lipids and bacteria were not detected. Scanning electron microscopy did not show the surface to be smooth but revealed a variation in density across the surface. Elemental analysis was inconclusive. Conclusions: Mucin balls are likely to be made from collapsed mucin and are unlikely to have been formed as a result of pearling around a silicon, lipid, or bacterial kernel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-745
Number of pages6
JournalCornea
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • Electron microscopy
  • Histology
  • Lipid plugs
  • Precorneal deposits
  • Tear microspheres

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