Dry Eye Diagnosis

Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition that occurs when a person cannot produce enough tears. As a result, patients often experience stinging and burning eyes, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, and eye redness. Dry eye syndrome can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam with Drs. Peter Broberg, Halsey Settle, William McGlathery, or Ximena de Sabra. In order to provide an accurate diagnosis, we may also measure the volume and quality of your tears. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, see one of our doctors so we can perform a dry eye diagnosis. Schedule an appointment at our Austin, TX, practice today.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

Man rubbing eye in irritationEyes that are itchy, scratchy, burning, or feel like they have a foreign object in them are a sign of dry eye. Blurred vision or sensitivity to light may also indicate the condition.

Your eyes may also be red and watery. Although it seems counterintuitive, a symptom of dry eye syndrome is often excess tearing. When the eyes become even slightly dry and irritated, it can initiate tearing by reflex, flooding the eyes with a large amount of tears in an effort to moisten them. Even after excessive tearing, the eyes will feel irritated shortly afterwards.

Dry eye symptoms may get worse in dry, windy weather, especially when temperatures are high and humidity is low. They may also worsen with prolonged computer use, while driving, watching television, or reading.

Diagnosing Dry Eye

Many times, the doctor can diagnose dry eye syndrome simply from discussing your symptoms. With a careful examination of your eyes, your doctor can confirm that diagnosis. During the exam, the doctor will examine the front of your eyes with an instrument called a slit lamp. This is a special microscope that can focus a thin sheet of light into the eye, allowing the doctor to see a magnified view of your eye structures in detail. The doctor will inspect the amount and thickness of the tear film over your eyes, and check its stability by checking the time it takes to break up. The conjunctiva will be examined for signs of dryness as well.

Many times, the doctor can diagnose dry eye syndrome simply from discussing your symptoms.

The doctor may use dyes in the form of eye drops during your examination. A yellow dye called Fluorescein is used to determine if areas of the cornea have been worn away due to an inadequate protective tear film. Finally, the doctor may decide to test your tears. The Schirmer test measures the amount of tears your eyes produce using a strip of filter paper. The doctor will place the end of the strip just inside your lower eyelid for one minute. When he removes the paper, he will measure the amount of wetting on it. A low amount of moisture on the strip indicates dry eye syndrome.

Schedule a Consultation

If your eyes are scratchy and watery, and you think you may have dry eye syndrome, contact our office today and schedule an appointment with one of our doctors. With a thorough examination of your eyes, the doctors will be able to diagnose your condition and begin treatment, starting you on the road to recovery.

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