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Dry Eye Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

The main symptom of keratoconjunctivitis sicca is discomfort in the eye. This soreness can range from mild to severe. Some other symptoms of keratoconjunctivitis sicca include:

  • The sensation of a foreign body in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light (also called photophobia)
  • Scratchiness in the eye
  • Discomfort with contact lenses

Most cases of keratoconjunctivitis sicca cause only discomfort. However, in severe cases, the dryness in the eye can lead to damage to the cornea. If this occurs, it is possible that vision may be permanently lost.

Diagnosis

Most of the time, the diagnosis of keratoconjunctivitis sicca is made by an eye specialist. An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in diseases and disorders of the eye. He or she can quickly determine the cause of the discomfort by using specialized equipment to view the surface of the eye.

These special tests may include:

  • Slit lamp visualization—The ophthalmologist may use a special light called a slit lamp (or biomicroscope) to look at the film of tears on the eye surface. The doctor can tell if there are not enough tears to keep the eye moist.
  • Dye—The ophthalmologist may use a special dye (called fluorescein, rose Bengal, or lissamine green) to evaluate the health of the eye’s front surface.
  • Schirmer’s test for dry eye—This test involves placing a small paper wick near the eyelid to measure the amount of tears that are made by the eye.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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