PURPOSE: To survey practitioners in the tear film/dry eye field for their preferred diagnostic methods for the evaluation of the tear film and dry eye syndrome. METHODS: A survey was given to 36 optometrists and 41 ophthalmologists with backgrounds in the area of tear film and dry eye syndrome to find their preferred test if only one diagnostic option was available for tear film evaluation. Second, third, and fourth choices were also recorded, as well as any additional comments. RESULTS: Sixty-eight practitioners completed the survey. No one single test was a dominant first choice of the majority of respondents in either profession. History and/or dry eye questionnaire was the most frequent response to the question addressing the use of only one test (28%). The second most frequently chosen test was fluorescein break-up time (FBUT) (19%), followed by fluorescein staining (13%), and rose bengal (10%). The Schirmer test was most frequently included as one of the four choices (62%), although it was the first choice of only 9%. CONCLUSION: The importance of multiple tests in the evaluation of tear film disorders is overwhelmingly acknowledged, with patient history/dry eye questionnaires, FBUT, ocular surface staining, and the Schirmer test being the preferred diagnostic tools.
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