TearLab® testing is used for early and accurate detection of dry eye disease. Because it provides a means of quantitatively monitoring the severity and possible progression of dry eye, TearLab testing is invaluable for ophthalmologists in customizing treatments for their patients. TearLab testing measures tears’ osmolarity (salt concentration), which is an indicator of whether dry eye disease is present. The greater the osmolarity, the more severe the problem. Osmolarity in both eyes is measured, and the higher of the two numbers is used for the diagnosis.
Causes of Dry Eye Disease
Underlying causes of dry eye are variable, so investigation in the case of each patient is necessary. Environmental causes include excessive exposure to heat, sun, wind, smoke or other air pollutants. Dry eye is also caused by taking certain medications, particularly antihistamines, decongestants and antidepressants. Many diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Sjögren’s syndrome, and some hormonal imbalances, have dry eyes as symptoms. Patients who have had LASIK surgery, or have certain eye conditions, are also troubled by dry eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease
The symptoms of dry eye disease include the following:
- Stinging or burning, or a scratchy sensation
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing
- Eye fatigue
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Patients with dry eyes may have blurred vision or trouble focusing, particularly after a prolonged period of close work.
Complications of Dry Eye Disease
Without early diagnosis and effective treatment, dry eye can result in serious corneal irritation. Normal tears are essential to lubricating the eye’s surface, warding off infection, and protecting patients from future visual impairment due to scarring. TearLab testing plays a significant role in diagnosing dry eye, making it a powerful tool for preventing complications of the disease.