The first thing your doctor will look for is any indication of an underlying cause for your dry eyes. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, antihistamines, and oral contraceptives can all lead to a decrease in tear production. A simple adjustment of your medication may be all that is needed to resolve the issue.
Certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases may cause dryness. At Broberg Eye Care, we are happy to offer the Sjö™, a laboratory test that can help determine whether you are suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome.
Even in healthy individuals, an infection along the eyelids, called blepharitis, can lead to instability of the tear film and cause dryness. Blepharitis is usually diagnosed on exam and does not routinely require laboratory testing.
Often 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.
The doctor may also use specialized dyes such as Flurorescein, Rose Bengal, and Lissamine Green. These are applied topically to evaluate the integrity of the tear film and the health of corneal and conjunctival cells which may be affected by dry eye. Your doctor may also test your tear film itself. Our office offers two state-of-the-art, non-invasive modalities for testing of the tear film. Both modalities yield rapid results that will be communicated to you during your visit.