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    Point-of-care testing may improve accuracy of dry eye diagnosis

    Motivation for using technologies is to provide better patient care, physician notes


    TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Joseph Tauber, MD, offers a critical appraisal of the role of available point-of-care tests for evaluating dry eye.



    Kansas City, MOOphthalmologists should take a more proactive stance about identifying dry eye, as it is a common problem affecting visual function, quality of life, and the outcome of many ophthalmic surgical procedures.

    Several point-of-care tests are now available to help with its diagnosis. Joseph Tauber, MD, described various modalities and provided his perspectives on their utility.

    Further reading: Science, theory support nutritional influences on today’s dry eye disease

    “The reasons to implement point-of-care testing are to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and communication with patients, and to obtain a metric for evaluation of therapeutic intervention,” said Dr. Tauber, medical director, Tauber Eye Center, Kansas City, MO. “Treating ocular surface disease is an art, and the focus is about making patients feel better.”

    Weighing the options

    A new blood test for Sjögren’s syndrome (Sjö, Nicox) is one example for which Dr. Tauber gave a “thumbs up.” The test—simple to perform in the office—includes three additional autoantibodies compared with standard serological screening and has higher sensitivity and specificity.

    “One in 10 patients with dry eye has Sjögren’s, but the classic Sjögren’s antibodies are absent in 20% to 30% of patients with the disease, and the diagnosis is delayed for an average of almost 5 years,” he said. “This new blood test enables earlier diagnosis that will facilitate timely referral to appropriate specialists and discussion of disease-related risks.”

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