Ocular surface temperature: a review

Christine Purslow*, James S. Wolffsohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To review the evolution in ocular temperature measurement during the last century and examine the advantages and applications of the latest noncontact techniques. The characteristics and source of ocular surface temperature are also discussed. Methods. The literature was reviewed with regard to progress in human thermometry techniques, the parallel development in ocular temperature measurement, the current use of infrared imaging, and the applications of ocular thermography. Results. It is widely acknowledged that the ability to measure ocular temperature accurately will increase the understanding of ocular physiology. There is a characteristic thermal profile across the anterior eye, in which the central area appears coolest. Ocular surface temperature is affected by many factors, including inflammation. In thermometry of the human eye, contact techniques have largely been superseded by infrared imaging, providing a noninvasive and potentially more accurate method of temperature measurement. Ocular thermography requires high resolution and frame rate: features found in the latest generation of cameras. Applications have included dry eye, contact lens wear, corneal sensitivity, and refractive surgery. Conclusions. Interest in the temperature of the eye spans almost 130 years. It has been an area of research largely driven by prevailing technology. Current instrumentation offers the potential to measure ocular surface temperature with more accuracy, resolution, and speed than previously possible. The use of dynamic ocular thermography offers great opportunities for monitoring the temperature of the anterior eye. © 2005 Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalEye and Contact Lens
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • infrared
  • ocular surface temperature
  • thermography


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