Schirmer Tear Testing uses absorbant paper strips to measure the output of tears. If you measure less than 10 mm of wetting after 5 minutes, then you have dry eyes. If you measure less than 5 mm, then you are very dry. Many patients with dry eye measure between 0 and 2 mm wetting after 5 minutes. But Schirmer tear testing only measures 1 of the 3 components of the tear film.
Preserved Artificial Tear Eyedrops
Containing chemical preservatives so that they don't get contaminated with bacteria, bottled teardrops are blinked away in a few minutes, if not seconds. And the chemical preservatives in all of them often cause their own irritation.
Preservative-Free Artificial Tear Eyedrops
In small unit-dose dropperettes, most preservative-free eyedrops contain a balanced solution of salt water meant to hydrate the eye for a few minutes.
Formulated using a powerful chemical compound, these frequently burn and are ineffective for a significant percentage of patients. Plus, they cost up to $150 per month.
Like tears, they act as lubrication only. But eye ointment is messy and blurs your vision. It's useful predominantly as a nighttime therapy. Unless you sleep with your eyes partially open, eye ointment is often ineffective.
This is a non-surgical procedure designed to retain your limited tears on the eye before you blink and the tears disappear into your nose. Plugs can be uncomfortable, especially if they sit on the surface of the eyelid. And they may need to be removed due to too little tear circulation, including redness and mucus discharge.