TFOS DEWS II Diagnostic Methodology report Academic Article uri icon

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  • The role of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) II Diagnostic Methodology Subcommittee was 1) to identify tests used to diagnose and monitor dry eye disease (DED), 2) to identify those most appropriate to fulfil the definition of DED and its sub-classifications, 3) to propose the most appropriate order and technique to conduct these tests in a clinical setting, and 4) to provide a differential diagnosis for DED and distinguish conditions where DED is a comorbidity. Prior to diagnosis, it is important to exclude conditions that can mimic DED with the aid of triaging questions. Symptom screening with the DEQ-5 or OSDI confirms that a patient might have DED and triggers the conduct of diagnostic tests of (ideally non-invasive) breakup time, osmolarity and ocular surface staining with fluorescein and lissamine green (observing the cornea, conjunctiva and eyelid margin). Meibomian gland dysfunction, lipid thickness/dynamics and tear volume assessment and their severity allow sub-classification of DED (as predominantly evaporative or aqueous deficient) which informs the management of DED. Videos of these diagnostic and sub-classification techniques are available on the TFOS website. It is envisaged that the identification of the key tests to diagnose and monitor DED and its sub-classifications will inform future epidemiological studies and management clinical trials, improving comparability, and enabling identification of the sub-classification of DED in which different management strategies are most efficacious.


  • Wolffsohn, James S
  • Arita, Reiko
  • Chalmers, Robin
  • Djalilian, Ali
  • Dogru, Murat
  • Dumbleton, Kathy
  • Gupta, Preeya K
  • Karpecki, Paul
  • Lazreg, Sihem
  • Pult, Heiko
  • Sullivan, Benjamin D
  • Tomlinson, Alan
  • Tong, Louis
  • Villani, Edoardo
  • Yoon, Kyung Chul
  • Jones, Lyndon
  • Craig, Jennifer P

publication date

  • July 2017