Attitudes of eye health practitioners towards diagnostic tests and therapies for dry eye disease in Australasia



      The diagnosis of dry eye is challenging for eye health practitioners (EHP) and recently, a variety of new diagnostic tests have emerged. This study assesses the attitudes of EHP to dry eye and testing and compares these with attitudes in 2003.


      An electronic questionnaire was disseminated to EHP in Australasia between December 2020 to March 2021. Participants rated the likelihood that presenting symptoms/signs were associated with dry eye, the utility of diagnostic tests, the value of test characteristics, and their satisfaction with dry eye diagnostics. Qualitative responses were categorised into positive, negative, or neutral themes.


      144 responses were received, with 117 (81.3%) from Australia and 27 (18.7%) from New Zealand. Posterior blepharitis was significantly more likely to be associated with dry eye than other factors (p < 0.01). Clinical history, fluorescein staining and FBUT were judged significantly more useful in diagnosing dry eye compared to other tests (p < 0.01). Test validity was judged significantly more important in choosing a test than other qualities. Qualitative attitudes towards dry eye presentations and diagnostic tests were positive in 42.2% and 24.3%, negative in 32.4% and 41.9%, and neutral in 25.5% and 33.8% respectively.


      The opinions of EHP regarding dry eye tests were variable, but most favour history and corneal staining for diagnosis. Patterns of responses were similar to that reported by Turner et al 16-years ago, however, there is a higher satisfaction with available tests and therapeutic options. There is a need to develop a consensus amongst real-world clinicians regarding an optimum diagnostic pathway for dry eye, particularly in relation to newer diagnostic tests.


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