Pilot Study of a "large-Eye," Surgically Induced Dry Eye Rabbit Model by Selective Removal of the Harderian, Lacrimal, and Meibomian Glands

Arthur S. Polans, Jonathan F. McAnulty, Paul O. Phelps, Soesiawati R. Darjatmoko, Christopher K. Burris, Daniel Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Background/Aims: Establish a reliable rabbit dry eye (DE) model. Methods: An interventional cohort study surgically removing glands contributing to the tear film. Eight rabbits were studied after removal of left lacrimal, Harderian, or both glands. Additional rabbits had Meibomian glands in the left eye thermally obstructed. All were followed for 10 weeks with phenol red thread (PRT) and slit-lamp examination with 2% fluorescein. We assessed corneal sensitivity using a Cochet-Bonnet esthesiometer. Outcome measures were severity/duration of reduced PRT, punctate epithelial erosions (PEE), and histologic evidence of corneal pannus. Results: Fluorescein staining demonstrated signs of dryness including PEE in all of the interventional eyes. The subjective measurement of epithelial erosions correlated with decreased tear production. PRT measurements in the control eyes averaged 31.54 mm (±1.83) and 22.71 mm (±1.60) in the eight left eyes, without loss of corneal sensitivity. Conclusions: Surgical removal of either the Harderian or lacrimal gland results in statistically significant decreases in tear volume and the development of severe DE. Removal of both glands results in the occurrence of a DE of comparable severity/duration to removal of either the lacrimal or Harderian gland alone. Meibomian gland obstruction contributes less to the DE model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalOcular Oncology and Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017



  • Dry eye
  • Harderian gland
  • Lacrimal gland
  • Meibomian gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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