Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosis

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition which affects lots of people. If you suffer from dry eye, your eyes may feel sore and scratchy or you might experience a burning sensation.

The reason your dry eye occurs is because your eye isn’t producing tears in the right way. Or it could be because your tears evaporate too quickly. As a result your eye will dry out, becoming red and inflamed. Also other factors can make your symptoms feel worse. Things such as the weather, certain tablets or changes in hormones can make a difference.

Your dry eye syndrome could be caused by a number of reasons, but it is usually straight forward to diagnose.

Dry eye Syndrome is sometimes referred to as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Dry Eye Disease or simply “Dry Eyes”.

Sometimes further test are required to diagnose dry eye syndrome, however, there are three simple tests which can be carried out.

Dry Eye Syndrome Tests

To find out if you have dry eye syndrome you can contact your GP, Optometrist (optician) or Ophthalmologist (hospital eye doctor). First they will take your medical history. They will then examine the front of your eyes. Depending on what your specialist has seen, you will then be given advice on the different types of treatment available.

There are a number of tests you may have and your specialist will choose the right one for you.

Your specialist can carry out any of these tests quickly. If you wear contact lenses or glasses you will just need to remove them first. Also some people find that their eyes sting when the dye is put in their eye. However, this sensation does not last long and goes away very quickly.

Fluorescein Dye Test

You will be given special eye drops that contain a yellow-orange dye if you have the fluorescein dye test. The dye is not permanent and will not change the colour of your eye. After a few seconds, and with the use of a blue light, your specialist will be able to see your tears more clearly. This allows them to discover how quickly your eyes start to dry out.

The test is quick and can also detect if there is any damage to the surface of the eye. Learn more about Fluorescein Dye Test.

Schirmer’s Test

The schirmer’s test involves placing a piece of blotting paper underneath your bottom eyelid. Once the paper is in place you will need to keep your eyes shut for about five minutes. After this time the paper will be removed and analysed to find out how wet the paper is. If there is less than 10mm of moisture on the paper, this will confirm you have dry eye syndrome. Learn more about Schirmer’s Test.

Lissamine Green Test

Paper which contains a special dye (lissamine green) is diluted with saline and carefully dropped into your eye. The test is quick and the unique colour allows the specialist to see if you have dry cell patches in your eye. Learn more about Lissamine Green Test.

Corneal Staining & Dry Eye

When the eyes are dry, tears do not adequately protect the eye’s surface. Dry spots form, and over time, damage to the eye’s surface may occur. Special dyes can be used to determine the extent of damage to the surface of the eye. When applied to the eye, these dyes adhere to damaged spots on the conjunctiva and cornea, allowing the doctor to determine the severity of surface damage.
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