Diagnosing Dry Eye: It’s Different Now

Millions of people around the world experience dry eye and although it’s been around for thousands of years, recent research has multiplied our understanding of dry eye and its causes, treatments, and diagnosis.

A look at how things have changed:

Dry Eye In the Past Today
Causes Dry eye is caused by a lack of tears. Dry eye can be caused by several things, including a lack of tears, but is way more likely to be caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Treatment Eye Drops! Individualized combination treatment that may include eye drops, warm compresses, Omega 3 supplements, punctal plugs, hydrating eyewear, sleep masks and more.

Many people have lived with dry eye for years before finding treatment that works for them, but often they do find relief. Since dry eye can have so many causes, an accurate diagnosis is integral to developing a treatment plan that will work.

We asked dry eye doctors to share how they diagnose dry eye and we were impressed by the answers they gave us.

Dr. Crystal Brimer founded The Dry Eye Institute to help doctors create their own diagnostic and treatment protocol. She explained, “I start by looking for debris in the lashes, and then at the profile, thickness, and texture of the lid. I proceed to the tear film, cornea and conjunctiva and listen to what it shows me. Next, I use very advanced equipment to analyze elements of tear film that I can’t see with the slit lamp.

“To inspire compliance, I walk my patients through each of the diagnosis using their own pictures and videos.”

She continued, “I then print the Crystal Tear Report from the Oculus 5M Keratograph and show them their disease status and explain the treatment options. Ultimately, I break it down to the underlying categories that can contribute to their overall ocular surface disease and treat them individually, but simultaneously.”

Dr. Selina R. McGee at Precision Vision Edmond in Edmond, OK, said, ‘We use a questionnaire, then ask more questions, “How do your eyes feel, do they itch, water, burn?  Do you put drops in or feel like you should? Do they help?’”

Other tests she uses include Tear Lab Osmolarity, Lissamine Green and NaFl staining, as well as utilizing meibography, NITBUT, and measuring tear prism.

“I educate my patients that when everything is functioning on the front surface we should take our eyes for granted, meaning if they are aware of their eyes, we need to do more digging and find out why.”

Dr. Jerry L. Robben at Bowden Eye & Associates and Dry Eye University in Jacksonville, FL said, “Dry Eye is very complex, so we use many proven diagnostics to help us identify it early and monitor it for change. We use a SPEED questionnaire, TearLab, Inflammadry, Lipiview II, Dynamic Scatter, Meibomian Gland Evaluation and Scores, along with traditional dry eye slit lamp exams.”

Dr. Katie Schaller at SSM Health in Portage, WI said, “Patient symptom questionnaires are very helpful to identify dry eye patients.  I bring patients back for a dry eye exam and obtain measurements for dry eye using the Oculus keratograph.”

Between questionnaires, conversations with patients, eye exams, osmolarity tests, meibography, tear film analysis, corneal examinations and tests, and more; eye doctors have a myriad of tools that they can use to accurately diagnose dry eye. And, it’s working. More and more people are finding relief from their dry eye.

With all the information and an analysis needed it’s easy to understand why it’s important to see an eye care professional who specializes in dry eye in order to find relief.


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Honoring Dry Eye Doctors

Do you specialize in dry eye? If you do and you would like to be featured by Eye Eco please contact us! We would love to hear from you about your experiences treating dry eye. Please email us at CustomerService1@EyeEco.com.

We plan to honor dry eye doctors that are busy diagnosing and treating dry eye patients every day. Do you know any great dry eye doctors who have stories we can share? Please have them contact us at CustomerService1@EyeEco.com.