Tear test; Tearing test; Dry eye test; Basal secretion test
Schirmer's test determines whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist.
The health care provider will place a special paper strip inside the lower eyelid of each eye, under the eyelid (usually the bottom one). Both eyes are tested at the same time. Before the test, you will be given numbing eye drops to prevent your eyes from tearing due to irritation from the paper strips.
The exact procedure may vary somewhat. Most often, the eyes are closed for 5 minutes. Close your eyes gently. Closing the eyes tightly or rubbing the eyes during the test can cause abnormal test results.
After 5 minutes, the doctor removes the paper and measures how moist it is.
The phenol red thread test is similar to the Schirmer's test, except that red strips of special thread are used instead of paper strips, and no numbing drops are needed.
You will be asked to remove your contact lenses before the test.
Some people find that holding the paper against the eye is irritating or mildly uncomfortable. The numbing drops often sting at first.
This test is used when a person experiences very dry eyes or excessive watering of the eyes.
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