Managing Dry Eyes – Measuring Tear Osmolarity and Tear Function

January 15, 2017

With the many patients we treat for dry eyes, one thing is for sure, they don’t all present with the same symptoms and signs. Some come in with complaints of tearing when outdoors or a gritty sandy feeling in the eye while others present with a stinging/burning sensation or vision fluctuations. Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular surface accompanied by increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface.

At EyedeologyTM we are always looking for new and innovative approaches to dry eye treatments. As part of our diagnostic tool kit for dry eyes we measure tear osmolarity or to how salty are the tears. Generally dry eyes have less water and more salt than typical tears.

As part of our dry eye work up, we use the I-Pen from I-MED Pharma, an electronic diagnostic device used to measure the tear film osmolarity. The I-Pen is quick and simple to use. Its Single Use Sensor (SUS) is placed on the lower eyelid tissue. After several seconds of contact, the I-Pen displays a quantitative tear osmolarity test result in units of mOsms/L. A reading of >300 mOsms/L is significant for dry eyes. The I-PEN is a great tool used to monitor the progress of the dry eye therapies we recommend in office.

We have added the SM Tube®(Strip Meniscometry Tube) a tube developed to examine tear function by measuring the tear volume in the eye. The tip of the tube is gently immersed in the tear film for 5 seconds. The SM Tube® scores the amount of tears absorbed through its colored length within the tube. A reading below 5 units is significant for dry eyes.

Both of these tests are instrumental in helping our Optometrists diagnose, treat and manage dry eyes. If you have dry eyes book an appointment today for our Optometrists to evaluate your eyes. Medically necessary visits for dry eyes are covered by Alberta Health Care for all age groups.

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Dr. Farrah Sunderji, OD

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