In most cases, DED can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. Be sure to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may decide to do a test that measures how quickly your tears evaporate from the surface of your eye.
They will conduct this test by introducing a simple eye-safe dye called fluorescence to your eye. You will have to blink and then hold your eyes open. The doctor will then take note of how long it takes the tears on the surface of your eye to evaporate. This is called a Tear Breakup Time Test or (TBUT). If your TBUT is low this usually indicates a lipid (or oil) deficiency in tears. This usually occurs because the oil glands in the eye are not functioning correctly.
Another kind of test you might encounter is a Schirmer test. This test involves a strip of paper being placed under the lid of the eye. You will then be asked to close your eye for five minutes. After this, the amount of moisture on the strip will be measured. However, Schirmer tests are performed less frequently than TBUT tests.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
There are many treatment options when it comes to DED. Which option suits a patient best will depend on the severity of their case and what exactly is causing their dry eye problems. Artificial tears and lubricant teardrops are often prescribed to people with mild DES. These can help make up for the lack of natural tear production. If over-the-counter options don’t work for you, visit your doctor. They can provide prescription drops that stimulate tear production or steroids for short-term relief.