Diagnosis of dry eye disease and emerging technologies

Clin Ophthalmol. 2014 Mar 20:8:581-90. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S45444. eCollection 2014.


Dry eye is one of the most commonly encountered problems in ophthalmology. Signs can include punctate epithelial erosions, hyperemia, low tear lakes, rapid tear break-up time, and meibomian gland disease. Current methods of diagnosis include a slit-lamp examination with and without different stains, including fluorescein, rose bengal, and lissamine green. Other methods are the Schirmer test, tear function index, tear break-up time, and functional visual acuity. Emerging technologies include meniscometry, optical coherence tomography, tear film stability analysis, interferometry, tear osmolarity, the tear film normalization test, ocular surface thermography, and tear biomarkers. Patient-specific considerations involve relevant history of autoimmune disease, refractive surgery or use of oral medications, and allergies or rosacea. Other patient considerations include clinical examination for lid margin disease and presence of lagophthalmos or blink abnormalities. Given a complex presentation and a variety of signs and symptoms, it would be beneficial if there was an inexpensive, readily available, and reproducible diagnostic test for dry eye.

Keywords: cornea; dry eye; stain; tear film.

Publication types

  • Review