Objective methods for anterior ocular grading
This thesis set out to develop an objective analysis programme that correlates with subjective grades but has improved sensitivity and reliability in its measures so that the possibility of early detection and reliable monitoring of changes in anterior ocular surfaces (bulbar hyperaemia, palpebral redness, palpebral roughness and corneal straining) could be increased. The sensitivity of the program was 20x greater than subjective grading by optometrists. The reliability was found to be optimal (r=1.0) with subjective grading up to 144x more variable (r=0.08). Objective measures were used to create formulae for an overall ‘objective-grade’ (per surface) equivalent to those displayed by the CCLRU or Efron scales. The correlation between the formulated objective verses subjective grades was high, with adjusted r2 up to 0.96. Determination of baseline levels of objective grade were investigated over four age groups (5-85years n= 120) so that in practice a comparison against the ‘normal limits’ could be made. Differences for bulbar hyperaemia were found between the age groups (p<0.001), and also for palpebral redness and roughness (p<0.001). The objective formulae were then applied to the investigation of diurnal variation in order to account for any change that may affect the baseline. Increases in bulbar hyperaemia and palpebral redness were found between examinations in the morning and evening. Correlation factors were recommended. The program was then applied to clinical situations in the form of a contact lens trial and an investigation into iritis and keratoconus where it successfully recognised various surface changes. This programme could become a valuable tool, greatly improving the chances of early detection of anterior ocular abnormalities, and facilitating reliable monitoring of disease progression in clinical as well as research environments.