Dry Eye Testing with TearLab: What Patients Should Know

February 15, 2016 — by Dr. Gregory Stainer
Tags: Dry Eye

An eye doctor and a patientSouthwest Eye Care and Laser is committed to patients throughout the greater Bakersfield area, diagnosing and treating various vision problems and eye conditions. One of the most taken for granted eye problems is dry eye.

Dry eye refers to the lack of moisture or tear production in the eye. When this occurs, it can lead to red eye, itchy eyes, and serious discomfort. Many people suffer from dry eye, and it's often undiagnosed. Some estimates suggest that 55 million Americans suffer from dry eye. We should also note that the instances of diagnosed dry eye are typically higher in post-menopausal woman (between 6 percent to 10 percent) and the elderly (as high as 34 percent).

What Causes Dry Eye?

There are multiple reasons why dry eye may occur. In some cases, the primary cause of the dry eye attack is related to decreased tear production. This may be the result of advanced age, damage to the tear ducts, side effects following eye surgery, side effects from certain medications, and the symptoms of a serious health condition

For some people, their dry eye is the result of rapid tear evaporation, which can be linked to environmental conditions, a lack of blinking, and issues with the eyelids.

Finally, issues with tear composition can also lead to dry eye and tear evaporation. Tears are comprised of three layers: oil, water, mucus. Imbalances between these three components can result in dry eye.

About TearLab Dry Eye Testing

The TearLab Osmolarity System offers the first objective and quantitative test for the proper diagnosis of dry eye. Following an accurate dry eye diagnosis, your eye care specialist can develop a custom treatment plan for you and your needs.

How Does TearLab Dry Eye Testing Work?

The TearLab testing machine is a small and nicely designed system. Patients will sit and be asked to keep their eyes open until tears naturally develop and accumulate at the corners of the eyes. A small, safe, discrete handheld instrument is used to carefully extract a small sample size of tears from along the patient's eyelid. The whites of the patient's eyes are not touched, and all efforts are taken to keep the process as sterile and clean as possible. The handpiece is returned to the machine so the osmolarity (saltiness of the tears) can be measured.

Painless, Accurate, and Efficient

The entire testing process with the TearLab system is free from pain and offers an accurate assessment of the patient's tear composition and degree of dry eye. This on-site assessment yields results that are comparable to off-site labwork, with immediate osmolarity readings for the patient during his or her visit. No prolonged waits, no need for a second visit just for test results. It's all ready for you in a relative instant.

Determining the Best Treatment Option for Patients

Using the numbers and osmolarity findings from the TearLab system, an eye care specialist can note the degree and severity of a patient's dry eye and then determine the ideal treatment option to address the patient's needs.

Ultimately, TearLab means accurate diagnosis of dry eye and a great tool for eye care specialists to help plan the most effective custom treatments for their patients.

Contact Southwest Eye Care and Laser

For more information about testing for dry eye and how we can help you overcome this condition, be sure to contact our laser eye care and vision correction center today. The team at Southwest Eye Care and Laser looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve total wellness.

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