Dry Eye Diagnosis and Testing
Many people suffer from dry eyes. According to findings from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), more than 3.2 million women over 50 and nearly 1.7 million men over 50 suffer from some form of dry eye. That doesn’t take into account so many others who are younger and have to deal with irritation and discomfort.
Dr. Walter Choate can help people throughout the Nashville and Goodlettsville, TN area with various dry eye treatments. The first step in the treatment process is proper testing and diagnosis of dry eye. Let’s cover some of the basics of dry eye and then go over some of the ways we can diagnose your condition and treat it.
About Dry Eye
Dry eye refers to cases in which a person is unable to produce a sufficient amount of tears to lubricate the eyes. This may be due to a number of different factors, such as tear composition, patient age, and the effects of an eye surgery or eye injury.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye
The most common signs and symptoms of dry eye include:
- Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- Gritty sensation in the eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Poor night vision
- Red eye
- Stringy mucus around the eyes
- Watery eyes due to irritation
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
Diagnosing the Exact Cause of Dry Eye
When diagnosing dry eye, it’s crucial that doctors determine the exact cause of the issue. There are three common causes of dry eye:
- Reduced tear production/volume
- Increased rate of tear evaporation
- Improper balance in tear composition
By determining the cause or causes of your dry eye, we can develop a custom treatment plan that will offer lasting relief and comfort.
Common Tests for Dry Eye
When attempting to diagnose dry eye, there are a few tests eye doctors can perform:
- Comprehensive Eye Exam - During a full eye exam, an eye doctor can offer an assessment of your overall health and wellness. They can also determine if certain health issues are contributing to your dry eye, or of there are certain triggers that make your dry eye worse.
- Measuring Tear Volume - A Schirmer test can determine the volume of your tears. This uses blotting paper placed under the lower eyelids for about five minutes.
- Assessment of Tear Quality - To assess tear composition and evaporation rate, special eye drops can be used. Eye doctors can note patterns and appearance of the eye moisture on the corneas.
Treating Your Dry Eye
Once the cause or causes of your dry eye have been properly identified, we can determine the ideal means of providing relief. In many cases, the use of eye drops available over the counter will be helpful. We can also discuss various lifestyle changes that can promote more eye moisture.
For other kinds of dry eye, prescription medications may be necessary. Punctal plugs are also helpful for helping retain eye moisture by preventing early tear drainage. If your contacts are exacerbating your dry eye, we can recommend contacts that are friendlier for people with dry eye.
Contact Choate Eye Associates
If you live in the Nashville area and would like more information about dry eye, be sure to contact a board-certified optometrist and credentialed eye doctor. You can reach our office in Goodlettsville by calling (615) 805-0712.