Test for dry eyes can lead to relief

May 30, 2012 5:15:51 PM PDT
If you feel like you have sand or rocks in your eyes, you may be blaming allergies. But did you know there's a quick test that can tell you for sure why your eyes are making you miserable?

As our medical reporter Christi Myers tells us in Health Check, there are several reasons for dry eye and getting it right can make the difference in getting relief.

"Painful. It felt like there was rocks in my eyes," said Laura Williamson.

But Williamson says the rocks in her eyes feeling ended when she got an unusual eye drop with testosterone.

"I thought it was odd except he did say that dry eyes are very common in women of an indeterminate age," she said.

And they worked.

"I got instant relief, it instantly felt better," Williamson said.

Diane Hopson has glaucoma and took medicine for it. But suffered a surprising side effect.

"Many of the drops people are prescribed for glaucoma will actually dry the eye more," said Dr Allan Panzer.

Hopson got a different treatment for her glaucoma, her dry eyes got better and so did her vision.

"It's clearer and brighter. That's a blessing," Hopson said.

Christi Myers said her eyes are so dry that often she can't wear her contacts. And she's never known if it's allergies or something more serious.

Dr. Panzer uses a $35 test called the tear lab test to tell you if it's allergies or not. In three minutes, we get an answer. It's only allergies. And Myers can take drops for it.

"Somebody should test you for dry eye and then treat you for the dry eye," said Dr. Panzer.

It was a different story for Emily Biermanns. Her severe dry eyes were caused by a medical condition called Schoegren's.

"I had to close my eyes to protect them and not dry out even more," Biermanns said.

Surgery gave her relief. Dr. Panzer says the important thing is to find out what is causing your dry eyes, so you know how to treat them.

Drops for dry eyes can range from inexpensive antihistamine drops sold over the counter to new prescription drops that can run up to $200. The testosterone eye drops cost about $70 a month.


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