So you've come to Skyvision Centers with red, burning or tearing eyes. Your vision gets blurry when you look at a computer. You always feels like there's something in your eyes. How do we know it's from Dry Eye? How do we make the diagnosis?
Well, the very first thing we do is LISTEN to you! We try very hard to hear what it is that's bothering you. After that there are several tests that the technicians and doctors do to evaluate your tears, like examining your tears themselves. Both the doctors and the technicians look at your tears. Do you have a normal amount present just on viewing? Are they clear? Is there any debris, stuff like mucous or clumps of white blood cells present?
Before we put anything into your eyes we will often use a special instrument called an osmometer to check your tear OSMOLARITY, how salty your tears are. This is a very new, fully FDA approved test to evaluate whether you have a normal amount of salt in your tears. Normal is below 300 and abnormal is above 308, with the 300-308 range being relatively non-diagnostic. This test is very helpful in determining whether or not you have the most common type of Dry Eye, especially when other signs are hard to see.
The doctor will then put a vegetable-base dye called FLUORESCEIN into your tears to evaluate their function. How long does it take before they "break up"? Tears should remain smooth over the front of the eye for at least 8-10 seconds. Does any part of the front of the eye become stained by the flourescein? Dye staining is a sign that your tears do not work well enough. Finally, tiny strips of filter paper may be placed just inside your eyelids for a test of your tear production called a SCHIRMER test. This helps us know the volume of tear production.
That's how we do it! Lots of work to make the diagnosis, but heck...you're worth it! Look for more information on how we TREAT Dry Eye.
For even more information about Dry Eye, visit our YouTube channel Skyvisioncenters105 for many Dry Eye videos by our very own Dr. Darrell White at The Dr. Whiteboard.