Dry Eye Disease (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) is often not diagnosed correctly because the symptoms are similar to other conditions such as allergies, eye strain, and fatigue. Our doctors will take a full health history, do a thorough eye evaluation, and perform diagnostic tests to properly diagnose your dry eye and determine the severity of your dry eye. Your NTEC eye doctor will then tailor a treatment plan specifically for you.
High tear osmolarity is the hallmark of dry eye disease. This test involves taking a direct sample of your tears to measure the saltiness and overall composition. It provides a numerical value of osmolarity to allow for grading of severity and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. Some doctors refer to it as the “thermometer of the eye” as it reflects the inflammation caused by elevated salt content.
Although TearLab™ Osmolarity is not covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan, it provides an important predictive value in determining the severity of an individual’s dry eye, and a meaningful measure of the health and stability of the protective tear film that covers the surface of your eyes.
This diagnostic test allows us to get an image of the meibomian glands (meibography) located within the eyelids. These glands secrete meibum (oil) which is a significant component of the tear film. Decreased meibum production leads to evaporation of tears from the eye. Patients who have dysfunctional glands can have shortening or complete loss of glands, which is visible with this imaging.
This technology provides us with an objective and non-invasive analysis of how the tear film is behaving over a 20 second interval, allowing us to evaluate how successful a patient’s blink is at restoring tear function.
Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED™) Questionnaire
The SPEED™ questionnaire rates the patients symptoms in three areas: Symptoms, Frequency, and Severity.
Using a temporary dye to stain your eye, the doctor can look at the cornea and conjunctiva to determine the health of the surface of the eye.
Tear Breakup Time (TBUT)
Using a flourescein strip, your eye doctor can test for evaporative eye disease. To measure your tear breakup time, flourescein is added to the tear film and is viewed with a cobalt blue light.
The Schirmer Test
A common dry eye test to measure tear production to determine if your eyes are producing enough tears to keep the eyes moist. The test is performed by placing a test strip inside your lower eyelid. While you keep your eyes closed for 5 minutes, the strip will measure your tear production.
A dry eye test that has a rapid response and measures the level of MMP-9 in the patient’s tears. MMP-9 is common in patients with dry eye and causes inflammation in the eye which, if left untreated, may cause damage to the eye. The test is performed by collecting a small about of tears from your lower eyelid.