How do you Diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome?

Diagnosis of dry eye syndrome is primarily based on the symptoms. In special circumstances, the doctor may order the following tests:

  • Schirmer’s Test: This test measures the amount of liquid bathing the surface of the eye and helps to determine the severity of the condition. In this test, a small piece of filter paper is touched on the surface of the eye. If the liquid fails to rise above 5 mm, it is indicative of dry eye syndrome.
  • Tear Break Up Test (TBUT): This test measures the time taken for tears to break upon the surface of the eye. Fluorescein dye is used for visualization.
  • Chemical Analysis of Tear: Tear can be chemically analyzed to detect and quantitate various types of chemicals. Some of the chemicals that are analyzed include lysozyme, lactoferrin, and a new molecule termed Ap4A.
  • Tear Osmolarity Test: This test measures the osmolarity of the tear to assess the degree of dryness of the eye.

How do you Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

There are several treatment options available for dry eye syndrome. These are briefly highlighted below:

  • Eye Drops: Lubricating eye drops (artificial tears) can be used regularly for easing the symptoms of dry eyes. Other eye drops containing cyclosporine, lifitegrast, and corticosteroids are available that reduce the inflammation associated with dry eyes.
Lubricating Eye Drops Can Provide Relief from Dry Eyes
  • Punctal Plugs: Each eye has two-minute openings called “puncta”, which drain tears into the tear ducts. These tear ducts can be closed by punctal plugs, preventing their drainage into the nose, thereby making more tears available to bathe the surface of the eyes.
  • LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation Device: This is an automated device that fits onto the eye and covers the eyelids. It applies precisely controlled heat which softens the meibum (oily secretion of the Meibomian glands). Pulsed pressure is also applied on the eyelids to open-up the clogged Meibomian glands, thereby restoring the balance of oils in the tear film to relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): This procedure uses IPL to treat ocular rosacea, a skin condition that affects the skin of the eyelids, causing inflammation and dilation of the minute blood vessels. IPL treatment uses a device that flashes bright light onto the eyelids. The light is filtered to generate wavelengths that are effective for resolving the dilated blood vessels and inflammation of the eyelids.

References:

  1. Facts about Dry Eye - National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA - (https://nei.nih.gov/health/dryeye/dryeye)
  2. Dry Eye Syndrome - Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine - (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000426.htm)
  3. What is Dry Eye? - American Academy of Ophthalmology - (https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-dry-eye)
  4. Dry Eye - American Optometric Association - (https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye)
  5. Dry Eye Syndrome - Kellogg Eye Center, Michigan Medicine - (https://www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/dry-eye-syndrome)

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