What To Expect During A Dry Eye Exam

What To Expect During A Dry Eye Exam

If your eyes feel dry or itchy, if they feel as though they have grit in them or they sting, if they water excessively or often look red, it’s time to see the optometrist for a dry eye exam. Sometimes dry eyes are caused by circumstance, such as a dry climate or digital eye strain due to excessive screen exposure. But dry eyes can also be caused by problems with the formation of tears. If the eyes are not producing enough tears or if the tears that are produced are of poor quality, you will need the help of an optometrist to get proper dry eye relief. To find out the cause of your dry eyes and receive symptom relief, you will first need to schedule a dry eye exam.


Dry Eye Tests You Can Expect

Schrimer’s Test
For this dry eye test, small pieces of medical paper will be placed under your eyelids and then you will close your eyes. After a few minutes, you will open your eyes and the papers will be removed. Your optometrist will see how wet the papers have become from your tears as a way to measure if you are producing enough tears. If the paper is drier than it should be, it is likely a lack of tear production causing your dry eyes. But if you are producing enough tears, it is more likely the quality of the tears that are the problem.

Tear Break Up Time (TBUT) Test
This test will measure how long it takes for your tears to break up or evaporate. To administer this dry eye test, your optometrist will use a piece of blotting paper that contains a dye and they will lightly touch this to your eye. With a few blinks, this dye will distribute over the eye and allow your optometrist to see your tear film. When your optometrist shines a blue light, the dye will light up and your optometrist will see your tears. Your optometrist will record how long it takes after your blink for the first dry spot to appear.

Corneal Examination
While you have the temporary dye on your eye from the TBUT test, your optometrist will also examine your cornea. Any damage to the cornea will appear under the blue light, with dead cells glowing green. This indicates corneal injury that may be responsible for chronic dry eye.

Phenol Red Thread Test
For this dry eye test, your optometrist will put a small, red thread across the eyes for a few seconds. They will then remove the thread and examine how wet it is and where the liquid is to determine the volume of tears produced. This will help determine if your dry eyes are being caused by a lack of tear aqueous fluid, which may limit tear distribution so that the entire eye is not covered.

Meibomian Gland Evaluation
Your meibomian glands are responsible for the production of oils within your tears. These glands are in the eyelids near the lash line. Without the oils produced by the meibomian glands, the tears evaporate too fast. For a meibomian gland evaluation, your optometrist may scan the eyelids with a device that produces images of the meibomian glands to monitor their functioning. Your optometrist may also touch your eyelids to manually examine oil production and search for any signs of oil blockage.

To learn more about dry eye exams, 
read How Our Calgary Optometrists Diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome.

Receive Dry Eye Testing In Calgary

If you are tired of dealing with the discomfort and pain of dry eyes, a dry eye exam at Specs in the City is the first step to finding relief. Once the cause of your dry eyes is determined, the Specs in the City team will determine what type of dry eye relief will work best for you. At Specs in the City, our SE Calgary optometrist clinic is a leader when it comes to treating dry eye syndrome through tailored and comprehensive approaches to dry eye syndrome care. Our team of experienced optometrists can create an in-depth care plan that will quickly address your unique needs and provide long-lasting relief. To book a dry eye exam, contact Specs in the City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.



Q: What are some solutions to get dry eye relief?
A: Treatment will depend on the cause of your dry eyes, but in general we recommend using specialized prescription eye drops, artificial tears, steroid eye drops, punctal plugs, and warm compresses, although your optometrist may suggest other potential treatments during your dry eye exam.

Q: Can dry eyes lead to other eye conditions?
A: Yes, if untreated Dry Eye Syndrome puts you at risk of developing eye infections as well as damage to the surface of the eye. When you visit a Calgary Optometrist from Specs in the City, they will examine the eye to detect if any damage has occurred. To learn more, read The Hidden Danger Of Undiagnosed Dry Eye Symptoms.

Q: What should I do if I think I have dry eye syndrome?
A: For immediate at-home dry eye relief treatment, you can get eye drops, ointments, and relief masks. Our knowledgeable team will help you figure out your diagnosis, the severity of your dry eye syndrome, and what steps to take next.

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