Efficacy of the Primary Dye Test

Martha M. Wright, Thomas A. Bersani, Bartley R. Frueh, David C. Musch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A primary dye test was performed on the right lacrimal system of 25 normal subjects by three physicians of differing levels of experience in performing the test. The frequency of positive primary dye tests for each of the three examiners was higher than previously reported. The most experienced examiner had the highest percentage (100%) of positive primary dye tests, and the least experienced examiner had the lowest percentage (80%) of positive tests. However, variation between the most experienced examiner and the other two was due, at least in part, to a difference in fluorescein instillation. Therefore, the effect of experience could not be ascertained. The most experienced examiner used four moistened fluorescein strips medially and each used a 10-minute interval after dye instillation before looking for evidence of dye passage through the nasolacrimal duct. Twenty-one (84%) of the subjects had a positive primary dye test on initial blowing of the nose. This indicates that even inexperienced examiners can expect to detect a high percentage of functioning lacrimal drainage system with the method of the experienced examiner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-483
Number of pages3
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by a departmental grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, New York, New York.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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