Impression cytology: Recent advances and applications in dry eye disease

Eli Lopin, Tatiana Deveney, Penny A. Asbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Impression cytology (IC) allows cells to be harvested from the ocular surface noninvasively. Superficial layers of the epithelium are removed by application of cellulose acetate filters or Biopore membranes, and the cells can be subsequently analyzed by various methods, depending on the objective of the investigation or pathology involved. IC techniques are easily learned, can be performed in an outpatient setting, and cause virtually no discomfort to the patient. IC facilitates the diagnosis of ocular surface disorders, including, among others, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, ocular surface squamous neoplasia, and ocular surface infections. During the past decade, IC has been used increasingly to assist in diagnosis of ocular surface disease, improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of ocular surface disease, and provide biomarkers to be used as outcome measures in clinical trials. Dry eye disease is one area in which IC has contributed to significant advances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
JournalOcular Surface
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Clinical trials
  • Dry eye disease
  • Flow cytometry
  • Goblet cell density
  • Impression cytology
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  • Squamous metaplasia


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