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Dry Eye and the Schirmer Test - Laurie Barber, MD

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August 18, 2008

An Ophthalmologist Talks about Dry Eye and the Schirmer Test with the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water

Laurie Barber, MD, University of Arkansas Ophthalmology Professor, Interviewed by Sharon Kleyne about the Schirmer Test for Dry Eye, Eye Drop Allergies, Eye Mist, and Water.

Hear Sharon Kleyne's conversation with Laurie Barber, MD on World Talk Radio, Voice America, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes

Sharon Kleyne, host of the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water syndicated radio talk show, interviewed Laurie Barber, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Arkansas and an authority on dry eye syndrome. Sharon Kleyne and Dr. Barber discussed the Schirmer Test for dry eye diagnosis, the correct use of eye drop, eye drop allergies, eye misting, eyelid skin, and the importance of drinking eight glasses of water a day. The interview may be heard on-demand on World Talk Radio, Voice America, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes.

An important Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water objective is education about the growing worldwide crisis in dry eye disease, and proactive steps to prevent or alleviate dry eye symptoms. Mrs. Kleyne is especially interested in the link between dry eye disease, air quality, polluted humidity, dry air, climate change and dehydrating indoor and outdoor environments.

Acknowledging dry eye symptoms as the number one reason for ophthalmologist visits, Sharon Kleyne and Dr. Barber commented that eye care education should be a higher priority and that too many people are unaware of the many ways they can harm their eyes.

Sharon Kleyne asked about diagnostic testing to confirm a diagnosis of dry eye. Dr. Barber explained that a common test for dry eye is the Schirmer Test, which can be easily administered by ophthalmologists or optometrists. In the Schirmer Test, the doctor places a strip of blotting paper inside the eyelid for a specified period of time to determine how much liquid is soaked up.

Mrs. Kleyne then asked about the widespread use of formulated eye drops to alleviate dry eye symptoms. Dr. Barber acknowledged that while eye drops can play an important therapeutic role, it is important to follow instructions and not over apply them. She recommends limiting eye drops to four or five applications a day, especially when the eye drops contain preservatives, which could cause an allergic reaction.

Mrs. Kleyne wondered if it is possible to become addicted to eye drops. According to Dr. Barber, the subject is often discussed among ophthalmologists but she has not seen controlled studies to ascertain whether using eye drops for an extended period sets up a self-perpetuating need, as is the case with nose drops.

Sharon Kleyne inquired about the role of the eyelid skin and the skin around the eye in dry eye, noting that when the tear film is dry, the eyelids many be inflamed and have dry flaky skin. Dr. Barber said that the eyelid margins are problematic in dry eye disease because that's where the oil producing meibomian glands are located, which prevent tear film water evaporation. Also, eyelids are a "hot spot" for skin cancer. Any time you have serious symptoms in the eyes, eyelids or facial skin, she concluded, it's time to see a doctor.

Dr. Barber recommends an all-water tear film supplement such as Nature's Tears® EyeMist®, to augment traditional dry eye therapies such as artificial tears, various medications, punctual plugs, etc. Nature's Tears® EyeMist® is a Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water sponsor.

Sharon Kleyne stressed the importance of keeping eyes moist by drinking plenty of water. Her definition of "water" does not include coffee, juice or soda but could include tea and lightly flavored waters (unsweetened and with a twist of lemon). Dr. Barber agreed that hydration and diet are critical to good vision and also recommended green, leafy veggies and omega-3 fatty acids.

Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water is sponsored by Bio-Logic Aqua Research, whose Nature's Tears® EyeMist®, a breakthrough hand-held personal all-natural water humidifying device for dry eye. Nature's Tears® EyeMist® is available at,, and selected drugstores nationwide.

Listen to the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water Mondays, 10 a.m., PST/PDT. The syndicated radio talk show is heard on Voice America/World Talk Radio, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes. Go to for written summaries and on-demand replays. Also visit,, "Nature's Tears EyeMist" on Facebook and "Bio-Logic Aqua" on Twitter.

© 2012 Bio-Logic Aqua Research