Dry Eye Testing
There are several ways to test for dry eye. At Community Eye Center, the doctors utilize a variety of testing methods, so that they may treat each patient according to their type of dry eye.
Based on your exam, your doctor may use one of the following dry eye testing methods:
- LipiView – This instrument captures video images with a high-tech interferometer, enabling the doctor to measure the amount and quality of the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film. In addition, the instrument records the completeness of the patient’s blinks. This information, along with other test results, is used to determine the best treatment strategy.
- TearLab Osmolarity – This test measures the salt content of tears, using a tiny sample of tears collected from the eyelid margin. Tear osmolarity has been shown to be consistently elevated in dry eye disease and is used both to diagnose dry eye and to track the success of treatment.
- Schirmer Testing – This is a measure of the volume (amount) of tears produced by the eyes in normal circumstances. Certain conditions can cause a significant decrease in tear production, with resultant aqueous-deficient dry eye disease. The test uses tiny strips of paper placed along the eyelid margin to measure the number of tears produced in 5 minutes.
- Fluorescein Staining – This is done with a tiny amount of fluorescein dye dissolved in your tears. Fluorescein will highlight areas of surface irritation resulting from dry eye disease.
- Lissamine Green Staining – This highlights cells that are devitalized (unhealthy) from dry eye disease.
Dry Eye Treatment
Treatment of Dry Eye Disease has traditionally involved the use of artificial tear drops and ointments, along with avoidance of wind, dusty environments, ceiling fans and the like. Today, treatment is tailored to the type of dry eye and can include a variety of medications, materials, new technology and tear supplements. Most dry eye patients will benefit from the use of supplemental artificial tears, and many different drops, gels, and ointments are available. Some are water-based, some oil-based, some thicker than others; specific recommendations are again based on the type of dry eye being treated. In any case, these products, while helpful, do not treat the dry eye disease, and are typically used along with other treatments.
- Prescription Eyedrops – Because inflammation occurs frequently in dry eye disease, topical anti-inflammatory eyedrops are commonly used, topical steroid medications for short-term use, and in some cases long-term treatment using Restasis. When necessary, antibiotic or antiallergy drops can also be utilized.
- Punctal Plugs – These are used to close off the tear drainage ducts, thus increasing the number of tears present on the surface of the eye. They are made of collagen or silicone, are inserted into the tear duct in the office, and can be removed if necessary. In some cases, permanent closure of the tear duct using cautery is performed, often after first using a temporary punctal plug. Nutritional Supplements – There is some evidence that certain omega-3 and omega-6 supplement combinations can help to reduce irritation from dry eye disease.
- Lipiflow® – This 12-minute in-office treatment is a true breakthrough in the treatment of evaporative dry eye, believed to account for the majority of dry eye disease. Using controlled warmth and gentle eyelid massage, Lipiflow works to open clogged Meibomian (oil) glands, restoring more normal oil gland function, and stabilizing the tear film. Community Eye Center is pleased to offer our patients this groundbreaking new technology, providing an effective treatment for the cause of evaporative dry eye.
Dry eye disease is usually a chronic and progressive condition, and can significantly impair a person’s vision, comfort, and ability to read, do computer work, and function normally. It has often been a source of much discomfort and frustration. Today, through the use of cutting-edge technology and modern scientific knowledge, we have the ability to treat this problem far more successfully.
Learn more about LipiView® and LipiFlow® here, or…