Diagnosis and Treatment for Dry Eye

Looking for a dry eye specialist in Andalusia? Our eye doctors at Ensight Eyecare have the expertise and advanced technology to diagnose and treat dry eye disease to help you find lasting relief from the uncomfortable symptoms.

What is Dry Eye?  

Dry eye disease is a condition where your eyes aren’t producing enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Over 100 million people worldwide suffer from dry eye, and women are affected by dry eye 50% more than men.   

Tears help maintain eye health and keep vision clear. Tears lubricate the eyes, reduce the risk of eye infections, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. When tear production and drainage are out of balance, dry eye can occur.  

Your tears are made of three components:   

  1. Lipid (oil layer that prevents the tears from evaporating) 
  2. Aqueous (water and nutrients)
  3. Mucin (spreads the tear film evenly and stabilizes tears)

A decrease in the quality or the quantity of any of the three components will lead to dry eyes.   In the past, it was thought that dry eye was primarily due to a lack of watery tears produced by the lacrimal gland above the eye. In the recent years, the complexity of the tear film and ocular surface has become increasingly apparent.  

Dry eye is categorized into two distinct groups:  

  1. Aqueous deficiency dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)   
  2. Evaporative dry eye (meibomian gland dysfunction)  

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is thought to be responsible for over 85% of dry eye cases, which are mostly evaporative. MGD happens when the glands in the upper and lower eyelids are blocked and can no longer produce a healthy oil layer, causing the tears to evaporate quickly. Many cases of MGD are also associated with aqueous deficiency dry eye. Any imbalance can lead to dysfunction of the tear film.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?   

Signs and symptoms of dry eye, which usually affects both eyes, may include:   

  • A stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness 
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes 
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving and participating in outdoor activities  
  • Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to dryness
  • Blurry vision or eye fatigue 
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Reduced reading or near working time

As dry eye disease worsens, inflammation becomes more prominent. While many cases of dry eye are relatively mild, some may progress to cause severe damage to the surface of your eye and vision loss.

How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?  

If you’re suffering from symptoms of dry eye disease, the first step is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. If dry eye disease is suspected, our eye doctor may use a variety of diagnostic tools during an exam.  

Slit Lamp   

Our doctor will examine the surface of your eyes using a biomicroscope, also known as a slit lamp. The slit lamp has a bright light and allows our doctor to examine the different structures in the front of the eye and inside the eye. The slit lamp is a key tool to determine your overall eye health and detect eye disease.   


The TearScience® LipiScan® Dynamic Meibomian Imager may be used to determine if your meibomian glands are blocked, which can cause uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. The procedure is quick and painless and enables your doctor to accurately assess the health of your meibomian glands.  

Schirmer’s Test   

The Schirmer’s test, also known as the dry eye test, may be performed during your eye exam. We’ll apply numbing drops to both eyes during the test and gently place a small strip of nontoxic filter paper inside your lower eyelids. We’ll then ask you to close your eyes for about five minutes, so your eyes can produce tears that the filter paper will soak up.   

We’ll then remove the filter paper from your eyes and measure the amount of moisture on the paper in millimeters. If the measurement is lower than five millimeters, this is a sign of tear production deficiency. If the measurement is over fifteen millimeters, this indicates an overproduction of tears.   

OCULUS Keratograph 5M

We use an advanced technology called the OCULUS Keratograph 5M to examine your eyes. The Keratograph 5M has a high-resolution color camera and features intelligent software to analyze the collected data and document the findings. It can also compare results from before and after treatment to see if dry eye treatment is successful.

Dry Eye Treatment in Andalusia, AL

If you’re diagnosed with dry eye, our eye doctor will create a custom treatment plan to fit your needs. We offer different treatment options for patients suffering from dry eye, including heat eye pads, Oasis drops, wipes, and sprays unavailable over the counter.

Schedule a Dry Eye Exam in Andalusia

If you’ve been dealing with dry eye symptoms and can’t find relief, book an appointment at Ensight Eyecare today. Our dry eye specialists in Andalusia, Alabama are here to help relieve your discomfort and improve your overall eye health!