• black-tufted marmosets (Callithrix penicillata);
  • endodontic absorbent paper points;
  • phenol red tear test;
  • primate;
  • Schirmer’s tear test


Objective:  To report normal tear production of healthy adult black-tufted marmosets and propose a novel alternative for the measurement of the aqueous portion of tear production in animals with small eyes.

Animal studied:  Black-tufted marmosets (Callithrix penicillata).

Procedures:  Tear production of 19 animals was evaluated by the following methods: modified Schirmer’s I, phenol red thread and the novel use of standardized endodontic absorbent paper points. These methods and results were compared. Additionally, blink frequency and palpebral fissure length were measured.

Results:  Modified Schirmer’s test I, mean = −0.46 ± 3.41 mm/min; Phenol red thread, mean = 13.27 ± 5.41 mm/15 s.; Standardized endodontic paper points, size 30, mean = 9.32 ± 3.09 mm/min; Mean palpebral fissure length = 7.83 ± 0.72 mm. Blink frequency, mean = 20.27 ± 5.92/5 min.

Conclusions:  Normal parameters for blink frequency, palpebral fissure length and tear production measurement are presented. The palpebral fissure of black-tufted marmoset is very small and tear production is one of the lowest reported for all animal species. A novel and practical alternative for tear production measurement using standardized endodontic absorbent paper points is presented and is indicated for animals with small eyes.