Dry Eye Evaluation & Treatment

What is "dry eye"?

Dry eye is a condition which happens when your eyes aren't moist enough. It can happen if your body doesn't produce enough tears, if your tears lack the oily layer necessary to keep them from drying out too quickly, or if you don't blink often enough. It can also be a result of certain allergies, diseases, or medication.

woman getting an eye exam

Symptoms of dry eye:

  • scratchy feeling

  • redness

  • pain

  • difficulty wearing contact lenses

  • blurry vision

Causes of dry eye:

Normally, your tears are made of three fractions: a mucous fraction, an oily fraction, and a watery fraction. The watery fraction is produced in the glands above your eye called the lacrimal glands. The oily part prevents your tears from drying out too quickly; it is produced in the meibomian glands that align your lower eyelid. The mucus is produced in the conjunctiva, which is the transparent layer covering your eye and the insides of your eyelids. Dry eye can happen if any of these are affected.

Diseases that may cause dry eye include Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, vitamin A deficiency, inverted or everted eyelids, etc.

Medications that may cause dry eye include certain eye drops, medicine for depression and anxiety; medication for allergies, heart disease, heartburn, high blood pressure, nasal congestion, etc.

woman placing eye drops in her eyes

Other factors that might cause dry syndrome:

  • dry climate

  • staring at a computer screen for long periods of time

  • LASIK surgery

  • not blinking enough

How is dry eyes diagnosed?

There are different ways of diagnosing dry eye.

Schirmer's test is the simplest: your doctor administers numbing eye drops, puts small strips of paper on the ends of your eyelids and asks you to close your eyes. The test usually takes 5 minutes, after which the doctor assesses the amount of liquid on the strips.

Epithelial staining is a process when your doctor administers special eyedrops that contain dye. These will show how long your eye stays moist, and whether its surface is damaged or not.

A slit lamp exam is performed using a microscope and a high-intensity light. Your doctor will put special eye drops in your eye and ask you to rest your head on a device which fixes it in place. The doctor will use the light source and microscope to study the surface of your eye and check the amount of tears.

A TBUT test is somewhat similar to a slit lamp test. Special fluorescent dye is put in your eyes, and you're asked not to blink while your doctor illuminates your eye using blue light and records the number of seconds that pass before your eye dries out.

A tear sample might be collected in order to check tear composition and the presence of certain biomarkers.

Dry Eye Evaluation in Los Angeles Area

If you are looking for a dry eye clinic near you, schedule a dry eye evaluation with Dr. Talin Amadian, a graduate of the Dry Eye Institute in Wilmington, NC. At your initial evaluation, Dr. Amadian will thoroughly review your symptoms and health history, and perform any additional testing needed to create your customized dry eye treatment regimen.

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