Dry. Scratchy. Burning. Stinging. Irritated.
Many if not all of our readers immediately recognize these buzzwords as common complaints related to dry eye, as they are the ones patients most often report and physicians most often use to initiate dry eye disease (DED) testing. Other signs, such as ocular surface inflammation, excess tearing, and photosensitivity, are not as easily described by patients or identified by physicians, yet they can play an important role in DED diagnosis—if the right technology is available to facilitate their detection.
Luckily, the number of tests and diagnostic devices designed to aid in the identification and analysis of DED is growing. Practitioners continue to rely on simple yet effective subjective measures such as the Schirmer test and vital dye staining as mainstays for diagnosing DED; however, some have also implemented subjective tests to assess patients’ tear osmolarity, tear film, blink rate, meibomian glands, and inflammatory biomarkers. These practitioners argue that, when used in conjunction with the comprehensive measures mentioned previously, objective testing can aid in the diagnosis of DED and strengthen one’s ability to tailor treatment to the patient’s needs.
With a staggering 45 million people in Europe and the United States alone suffering from moderate to severe DED,1 and many more in whom the disease is left undiagnosed or undertreated, the relevance of this topic for cataract and refractive surgeons is undeniable. We hope that the series of articles on the following pages will help you to continue taking steps toward finding a foolproof strategy for DED diagnosis and assist in your quest to find therapies that relieve patients’ symptoms. n
— Laura Straub, Editor-in-Chief
1. Herantis website. Cis-UCA eye drops for dry eye. http://herantis.com/pipeline/cis-uca-for-dry-eye/. Accessed May 27, 2015.