Researchers recently developed a tool that allows dry eye patients to evaluate their own tear film stability as a way of self-managing the condition. It proved effective when compared with clinical evaluations of tear break-up time (TBUT).

This prospective, controlled study included 212 eyes of 106 participants (114 eyes of 57 dry eye patients, 98 eyes of 49 healthy controls). The researchers instructed participants to refrain from blinking for as long as possible. They then measured the time interval between the ensuing blinks that occurred.

The investigators found a significant correlation between blink tolerance and TBUT. “Most importantly, the BTT values were significantly shorter in dry eye patients than in normal subjects,” the study authors explained in their paper. “These results suggest that the BTT test can be used as an adjunct to existing tests for evaluating dry eye disease as well as for self-diagnosis of the disorder.”

Hwang HB, Ku YH, Kim EC, et al. Easy and effective test to evaluate tear-film stability for self-diagnosis of dry eye syndrome: blinking tolerance time (BTT). BMC Ophthalmol. November 4, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].