Schirmer’s Dry Eye Test

What is a Schirmer’s Test?

This test is most commonly used to detect dry eye syndrome. It uses a blotting paper strip underneath the lower eyelid and allows the specialist to analyse the moisture content of your eye.

How is the dry eye test carried out?

The test is carried out by your GP, Optometrist (optician) or Ophthalmologist (hospital eye doctor). Your specialist will first place some numbing drops into your eyes. This is to prevent them from watering in reaction to the blotting paper strips.

When the eyes are numb the specialist will carefully place blotting paper strips underneath your bottom eyelids. You will then need to keep your eyes shut for about five minutes. During this time it is very important not to touch or squeeze your eyes.

After five minutes the papers will be gently 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.

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Do I need to prepare for the test?

You do not need to prepare for the test, however, if you wear contact lenses or glasses you will need to remove them first. After the test you will need to keep your contact lenses out for at least two hours.

How will the test feel?

You may find a slight stinging sensation when the numbing drops are applied. Also you may feel a slight scratching feeling when the blotting paper is first put in place. However, after a few moments you should no longer feel uncomfortable.

How long will the test take?

The test is relatively quick and should take about 5 minutes.

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