Dry eye is a chronic condition that requires long term maintenance and affects more than three million people per year. The risk of developing dry eye increases with advancing age, and women have a higher prevalence of dry eye compared with men.
The first step in treatment is usually daily, consistent use of a doctor recommended artificial tear. Fortunately, many people do quite well with an appropriate artificial tear drop, dosed between two and four times per day.
When that isn’t enough however, there are other treatment options available, and now Eye Center, Inc. offers a screening test informing us which treatment is most appropriate for an individual patient’s dry eye.
The lack of correlation between clinical signs and symptoms of dry eye disease makes diagnosing and treating patients a challenge. Inflammation is often present before the clinical signs of dry eye. InflammaDry is the first and only rapid result, in-office test that helps us diagnose the TYPE of dry eye a patient is presenting. And the type of dry eye is very important in the specific treatment plan.
InflammaDry identifies elevated levels of MMP-9, an inflammatory marker that is consistently elevated in the tears of patients with dry eye disease. All other dry eye tests measure tear production and stability. Using a simple 4-step process, InflammaDry recognizes elevated levels of MMP-9, to identify patients that may otherwise be missed with other dry eye testing methods.
Using direct sampling microfiltration technology, InflammaDry accurately identifies elevated levels of MMP-9 protein in tear fluid samples taken from the inside lining of the lower eyelid. In four simple steps, InflammaDry test results are achieved in just 10 minutes, aiding in the diagnosis of dry eye before the patient leaves the office.
InflammaDry provides highly accurate results: 85% sensitivity, 94% specificity.
Basically, a positive result means a patient has dry eye due to inflammation, and a negative result means a patient has dry eye due to other factors.
Why is this important? Depending on the InflammaDry results, the next treatment in the Dry Eye therapy hierarchy varies. Punctal plugs (tiny plugs of silicone inserted into the tear duct, keeping our tears from draining too quickly) are beneficial for patients whose tears are evaporating and draining too quickly, whereas medications like Restasis or Xiidra (medication strength drops which work the the immune system to suppress inflammation) are more appropriate for patients who test positive for inflammation.
Dry eye causes a scratchy sensation or the feeling that something is in the eye. Other symptoms include stinging or burning, episodes of excess tearing that follow periods of dryness, discharge, pain, and redness in the eye. People with dry eye may also feel as if their eyelids are heavy and may experience blurred vision. If you are demonstrating any of these signs, please call us to schedule an appointment for an InflammaDry test!