Purpose. The present study aimed at investigating the use and knowledge of tear film and dry eye evaluation tests by a representative sample of Spanish optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Methods. A simple on-line survey was designed to explore the preferred tests for tear film evaluation and dry eye diagnosis. Additional questions surveyed knowledge of basic tear film evaluation concepts, attitude (proactive or reactive) toward patient symptoms and use of standardized dry eye questionnaires. Respondents also provided information regarding academic background, continuing education and training courses, and weekly number of tear film examinations.
Results. A total of 140 optometrists and 103 ophthalmologists responded to the survey. The tear break-up time test was the first preference of optometrists and ophthalmologists, whereas the Schirmer test and the non-invasive break-up time were frequently reported by ophthalmologists and optometrists, respectively, to supplement a first test. Optometrists and ophthalmologists were similar in terms of continuing education, knowledge of basic tear film concepts, and attitude regarding symptoms. Continuing education was found to positively influence knowledge, attitude toward symptoms and use of more sophisticated tear film evaluation tests. Standardized dry eye questionnaires were rarely used. A strong positive statistically significant correlation was encountered between the number of continuing education and training courses and the number of weekly tear film examinations.
Conclusions. Continuing education is an invaluable tool for practitioners to increase their self-confidence and improve their clinical practice when conducting tear film evaluations and dry eye diagnosis.