Traditionally, diagnosing ocular disorders relies on two components: self-reported
symptoms and clinical examination. When visiting an eyecare practitioner, you may be
asked to describe your symptoms. To examine for clinical signs, or physical
some common tests include
- Comprehensive eye exam, including a complete history of your overall health
your eye health.
- Fluorescence staining
- Schirmer’s test
- Tear break-up time (TBUT)
Common symptoms of ocular disorders include itchiness, redness, inflammation, and
foreign body sensation of the eyes. However, although you may be experiencing any
of these symptoms, your physician may still have trouble diagnosing your condition.
A major challenge to diagnosis is that many ocular disorders are
multi-factorial, meaning that different disorders can result in identical symptoms
nonetheless their own specific treatments. Two common ocular disorders are dry eye
disease and allergic conjunctivitis (also known as ocular allergy). These diseases
both cause redness, itchiness, and inflammation of the ocular surface, and some
may even have them at the same time. Due to their overlapping symptoms, it may be
difficult for your physician to differentiate the two using the existing
because of their dependence on symptoms and clinical signs for assessment. Moreover,
ocular disorders frequently have a discrepancy between symptoms and signs. Some
have severe symptoms, yet display no signs of damage, while others may show signs
experience no symptoms at all. This discordance serves as a major hurdle to getting
timely and accurate diagnosis.
Additional challenges are due to the lack of standardization among many
diagnostic tests and overreliance on subjective symptoms. Some of the existing tests
also overly invasive, making them uncomfortable to experience, and can be influenced
external factors. Overall, the traditional diagnostic approach for ocular disorders
limited by a variety of factors. More advanced tests are greatly needed to help
diagnosis and better serve your eye health.