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 journalArticlepeer-review

    27 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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