Diagnosing Dry Eye

Dry eye can be diagnosed by an optometrist or opthamologist. There are several tests a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist can perform to determine if you have dry eye and whether you have Aqueous Deficient or Evaporative Dry Eye.

It is my recommendation that if you believe you have dry eye, you seek out a dry eye specialist in your area. Eye doctors vary greatly in their experience with dry eye patients and if you have dry eye you will want someone who has experience with dry eye patients and makes dry eye a focus of their practice.

Some of the tests the doctor may perform on you to determine if you have dry eye are:

  • Slit Lamp Examination of Meibomian Glands: The doctor will look at the oil producing glands in your eyes and see if they are producing oil. The doctor may also use a little plastic tool to gently press on the glands to see if they are producing oil and how easily the oil flows out of the glands
  • Meibography: The doctor will use a special camera to take pictures of your meibomian glands. Unfortunately, if dry eye goes untreated for too long, these glands can begin to atrophy and they will begin to die. This test allows the doctor to visualize to what extent the glands may be damaged.
  • Inflammadry Test: This test has the doctor take a small sample of your tears and check for inflammation. Inflammation plays a major role in dry eye disease, so if it is present it is a good indicator that you may have dry eye.
  • Schirmer Test: This test has the doctor place a small strip of paper in your eye to see how many tears you produce. The tears wet the paper and allow the doctor to see if your tear production is at a normal level.

The type of dry eye you have will determine the necessary treatment. Ask your doctor about available treatments or explore common dry eye treatment options. Based on the tests your doctor performs, they should be able to tell you whether you have evaporative dry eye, aqueous deficient dry eye, or some combination of both.