Diagnosis of dry eye

Surv Ophthalmol. 2001 Mar:45 Suppl 2:S221-6. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6257(00)00201-0.


Dry eve disease is characterized by symptoms, ocular surface damage, reduced tear film stability, and tear hyperosmolarity. There are also inflammatory components. These features can be identified by various kinds of diagnostic tests (symptom questionnaires, ocular surface staining, tear break-up time, and osmometry), although there may not be a direct correlation between the number or severity of symptoms and the degree of ocular surface damage or tear deficiency. Once the diagnosis of dry eye disease has been established, further tests can be used to classify the condition into tear-deficient or evaporative dry eve. The two forms of dry eye are not mutually exclusive and often co-exist. The optimal diagnosis of dry eye disease, therefore, depends on the results of several tests, and this article suggests an appropriate order for performing these tests at a single clinic visit.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Humans