Profiling of non-polar lipids in tears of contact lens wearers during the day

Publication Name

Experimental Eye Research


Purpose: This study explored whether the non-polar lipids in the human tear fluid lipidome show diurnal variation with and without contact lens wear. It also addressed the relationship between changes in ocular comfort during the day with the level of non-polar lipids. Methods: Tear samples were collected in the morning and evening with and without contact lenses using fine glass capillary tubes and were analysed by chip-based nano-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometric techniques. Tear levels of cholesteryl esters (CE), wax esters (WE) and triacylglycerides (TAG) were quantified. Results: TAG 48:0, 52:0 and WE 26:0/16:0, and 27:0/17:0 increased from morning to evening. TAG 52:2, WE 21:0/16:0, 21:0/18:1 and 28:0/18:1 decreased during the day when no lenses were worn. CE 21:0 was the only non-polar lipid that increased from morning to evening in contact lens wear. WE 21:0/16:0 and 27:0/17:0 were lower in the morning in contact lens wear compared to no lens wear (p ≤ 0.05). The level of non-polar lipids did not correlate with ocular comfort at the end of the day. Conclusion: Even though the level of some of non-polar lipid species changed from morning to evening the total level of major tear non-polar lipids remained unchanged during the day with and without contact lens wear. The effect of change in the quantity and structure of lipid species on tear stability and ocular comfort warrants more investigation.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Government



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