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Tear Lab

Dry eye is one of the most under-diagnosed ocular diseases, and yet it is the most common reason why patients go see their eye care professional.  Dry eye occurs when eyes do not produce the right quantity or quality of tears. Women are more frequently affected than men, and it is often caused by hormonal changes due to aging and menopause or medical conditions.  Dry eye is among the least understood eye conditions that affect large numbers of people.  Many people mistake the dry eye symptoms for allergies, climatic conditions or just “eyestrain.”  While all of these may aggravate dry eye symptoms, they are not the cause.  Your eyes need a constant layer of tears - called the "tear film"- to maintain and protect the ocular surface.  In dry eye, underlying changes to the health of the tear-producing glands can result in a change in the quantity and quality of the tears you make.  This results in a tear film that can no longer provide enough nourishment or protection to the surface of your eye.  This can lead to damage of your eye's surface, which, in turn, can lead to the symptoms of dry eye.  Signs and symptoms of dry eyes may include: stinging, burning, scratchy sensation, sensitivity to light, tearing, tired eyes, and difficulty wearing contact lenses, as well as blurred vision, often worsening at the end of the day or after visually focusing for a prolonged period on a nearby task.

To best determine the quality of your tears, our doctors use the TearLab® Osmolarity Test to determine the salt content of your tears, which is an indicator of dry eye disease. Tear osmolality has been shown to have the best predictive value for diagnosing dry eye disease of any single test. TearLab's sophisticated lab on a chip technology tests a tiny tear sample to measure Osmolality, or the salt content in the tears. Our doctors test both eyes, and will take the highest number of the two tests, to generate your osmolality number. Your osmolality number provides our doctors with a meaningful measure of the health and stability of the protective tear film that covers the surface of your eyes.The number generated correlates with the severity of the disease. The osmolality number will provide a direction in which to treat the dry eye that can range from over the counter lubricating drops oral vitamins such as EZ Tears to medicated drops such as Restasis.