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How Is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed

How Is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?

Lipiscan

Sometimes, a visual inspection of the eyes isn’t enough. Since a problem with the meibomian glands (which produce those essential lubricating lipids) is most often to blame for chronic dry eyes, it’s important to get the best digital image of the meibomian glands possible. That’s why dry eye specialists use LipiScan, which takes a high-resolution digital image of the lower AND upper glands.

Such imaging tells us a lot about how healthy your oil glands are. Are they healthy? Blocked? Dilating? Atrophied? Gunky? Is the oil cloudy or clear? ― cloudy oil indicates the presence of a bacterial infection which thickens the oils until they simply are no longer effective. This we can usually clear up with antibiotics.

Our Dry Eye Specialist in Houston provides cutting-edge treatment for dry eyes that’s fully tailored to your specific situation. We diagnose and assess your eyes using the latest technology combined with good old-fashioned visual exams, questions, and all-around great patient care that will get to the core cause of your condition. For example:

  • How effectively are you blinking? How often?
  • Are your tear ducts lined up properly?
  • What’s the osmolarity of your tears?
  • How fast do your tears break down?
  • What is your tear volume?
  • Do your tear ducts line up properly?
  • What shape are your meibomian glands in? Are they blocked? Dirty? Infected?

The Dry Eye Exam

Our dry eye doctor will also conduct an in-depth assessment of indicators for other diseases and health problems which might be contributing factors to your dry eyes. We then develop a personalized treatment plan based on what we find, and ongoing based on what’s working for you.

On every patient questionnaire, we ask if you are suffering from any of the typical symptoms of dry eyes. Do your eyes feel gritty? Sore? Do you feel like something is in your eye or that you just don’t seem to have any tears? If you report symptoms of dry eye or appear to exhibit those symptoms, then we recommend beginning the dry eye exam process, which is quick, easy, and painless.

Tear Lab – what exactly goes into healthy tears?

Tear LabThe first thing we want to check is the stability of the tear film. We use TearLab to test the osmolarity of your tears― that is, the relative concentrations of salts, water, and lipids (fatty oils). These lipids are produced by the meibomian glands. Most cases of dry eyes occur where there is a problem with these glands. They could be blocked, atrophied, or otherwise damaged. If your tears evaporate too quickly (which causes burning), it’s usually caused by a lack of these lipids.

A strong imbalance between the osmolarity of one eye vs. the other is a strong indication that someone has dry eye disease.

Phenol Red Thread Test

Depending on the results of the TearLab, our Houston Dry Eye specialist will also want to see if the overall volume of tears could be the problem. In some cases, the meibomian glands are producing the lipids needed for lubrication, but they’re just isn’t enough of the aqueous layer (this means tears) to spread it around effectively.

In order to test this, our optometrist will place a thin piece of red thread draped over the eyes for a few seconds in order to measure how wet the eye gets and comparing the differential between the eyes.

InflammaDry

Another tool in the arsenal of our dry eye experts is InflammaDry, a specialized diagnostic tool which measures whether or not a patient has elevated levels of MMP-9 in their tears from the inner lining of the lower eyelid. MMP-9 is a protein which indicates inflammation, which is fairly common for anyone suffering from dry eyes.

Our eye doctor Dr. Cedillo will typically prescribe steroids in order to get the eye inflammation under control.

Fluorescein Dry Test

Our dry eye doctor will also test your tear breakup time. Sometimes, tears don’t last long enough to work effectively. In order to test this, we use a fluorescein orange dye to test the breakup time (as well as any other corneal diseases, conditions, or foreign bodies). Using a small blotting paper, the optometrist will lightly touch your eye. As you blink, the dye spreads and gently coats the tear film covering the cornea. Using a blue light (the dye is orange), problems will be revealed to the eye doctor as green.

Schedule Your Exam at One of Our 7 Convenient Locations!

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Conroe 936-206-7366
Woodlands 281-528-4999
Louetta 832-678-8481
Greenspoint 281-677-3993
Kirkwood 832-532-8848
Southlake 817-835-9903
Grand Parkway 281-918-8894

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Woodland

Dr. Inns is a 1982 graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilfred Laurier University, Canada. During his training at the University of Houston, he held positions in research and was a teaching assistant / laboratory instructor.

Postgraduate work includes therapeutic courses at Pennsylvania College of Optometry and the Optometric Glaucoma Specialist Course at the University of Texas Medical School. Dr. Inns has published in Optometry Today and Optometric Management. He also volunteers at the schools in his area.

Dr. Inns and his wife, Lynn, spend much of their spare time calling and visiting with their four boys.

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Amber Draper, Manager

As the manager of The Woodlands office, Amber Draper leads the team with the focus on patient care and assisting with their ophthalmic needs. Having over 10 years experience, Amber can aid patients with the most appropriate lens technology to match their daily needs. Everyone needs at least one pair of sun wear, especially here in Texas.

Amber is a proud graduate of Sam Houston State University with a BA in History, and a minor in Spanish.

In her spare time, she is with family, friends, and enjoying some Houston Texans Football.

Dr. Toups is a 1984 graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Northeast Louisiana University.

Being a therapeutically licensed optometrist, Dr. Toups is trained to diagnose and treat ocular conditions. He specializes in contact lenses and he is current with all refractive surgery procedures.

Dr. Toups is married, has five children and has lived in the Houston area since 1980.