The first aim of this study was to clarify whether cigarette smoking affects tear secretion, goblet cell density, and tear MUC5AC concentration. The second purpose was to evaluate the correlations of conjunctival goblet cell density with tear MUC5AC concentration and other ocular surface evaluation factors. This cross-sectional study included 88 office workers. All subjects were required to fill in dry eye and smoking questionnaires, in addition to ocular surface evaluation. Tear wash fluid was collected from inferior fornix, and conjunctival epithelium was obtained by impression cytology. Tear MUC5AC concentration was quantified using enzyme-linked immunoassay, and conjunctival goblet cell density was counted after Periodic-acid Schiff staining. Tear MUC5AC concentration had significant positive correlation with conjunctival goblet cell density (r = 0.181, P = 0.03). In current smokers, Schirmer I test value, goblet cell density and tear MUC5AC concentration were significantly lower than non-smokers. Pack-years of smoking have significant negative correlation with goblet cell density (r = -.174, P = 0.036) and tear MUC5AC concentration (r = -.183, P = 0.028). We concluded that smoking might decrease tear secretion, goblet cell density and tear MUC5AC concentration. In addition, MUC5AC concentration in tears depends on goblet cell density in the conjunctiva among office workers.
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