Monday, November 29, 2010

Using Your Tear Osmolarity Result Part I: Diagnosis

We use a test called TEAR OSMOLARITY when we are evaluating the surface of your eyes. Perhaps you shared some symptoms with one of the Skyvision staff that brought up the possibility of dry eye. Maybe one of our doctors looked at the front of your eye and was suspicious about something he saw. Sometimes your symptoms and your exam just don't add up. In all of these cases measuring your tear osmolarity, how salty your tears are, can help us determine if dry eye is part of the problem.

We use a very sophisticated instrument manufactured by the Tearlab company to do this test. It's basically a lab on a microchip! A very, very tiny sample of your tears is placed on the chip and a reading happens almost immediately. Normal osmolarity or "saltiness", is a measurement under 300, and abnormal is something over 308 (between the two is not really diagnostic).

Of course, this test can't be used all alone. Dr. White, Dr. Kaye, and Dr. Schlegel will use the results along with the information they get from your history and from looking at your eyes to come to a conclusion. But if your osmolarity is above 308, the chances are good that you have some kind of dry eye!

The tear osmolarity test is fully FDA approved, and we are hopeful that it will be covered by most insurances in 2011.

Dry eye is one of the most common causes of eye problems, not only in Cleveland but all over the world. Our doctors at the main Skyvision Centers office in Westlake are on the leading edge of the technology involved in making this important diagnosis.

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