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    Reviewing ocular specialty testing

    Familiarize yourself with anterior and posterior testing in your practice

    Technicians are key in assuring quality outcomes with specialty testing.

    Specialty testing is performed for diagnostic purposes, observation of disease processes, and treatment plans. In some cases, specialty testing establishes a baseline prior to starting medications such as hydroxychloroquine or having neurosurgery.

    Due to the implications of testing results, accuracy is key. In many practices, testing often falls to the more experienced technical staff.

    Let’s review several common types of specialty testing and their purposes.

    Related: How to identify ocular cancer

    Anterior segment testing

    Schirmer’s tear testing is utilized to diagnose dry eye conditions. The eye is anesthetized and a paper strip is inserted into the inferior fornix. The patient’s eyes are closed for five minutes and the paper is then checked to determine baseline tear production.

    In the “normal” eye, the results will read between 10 mm and 15 mm. Mild dry eye is considered 9 to 14 mm  and moderate dry eye is 5 to 9 mm. Severe dry eye will produce 4 mm or less of baseline tears in five minutes. Treatment can then be directed accordingly.

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    Optometry Times A/V