BUILDING YOUR DRY EYE PRACTICE
BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL DRY EYE PRACTICE MEANS UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVELY IDENTIFYING DRY EYE PATIENTS IN A SYSTEMATIC WAY
It is estimated that 30% of Canadians suffer from dry eye disease (DED). It is a condition that can affect anyone, young or old. Many people aren’t even aware that they have DED because they are not experiencing symptoms, however, when left untreated, it can affect the ocular health of the eyes.
It is also estimated that 50% of patients walking into an optometrist’s or ophthalmologist’s office have dry eyes. This represents a significant opportunity for eyecare professionals to dramatically grow their practice by identifying which of their patients have DED and getting them on-board with a treatment plan that they can clearly understand and comply with.
Building a successful dry eye practice involves being able to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat DED patients. To do this, eye care professionals need to implement a systematic approach to diagnosing and treating this multifactorial disease, using all quantifiable parameters that are available.
These parameters include, tear break-up time, corneal staining, meibography, patient questionnaire results, and tear osmolarity. Once a systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment has been established, doctors have a valuable tool that can help them easily assess and treat their patients for DED. This tool (algorithm) yields quantifiable data, which not only determines the diagnosis and the treatment options, but also helps the patient clearly understand their results, empowering them to have a better understanding of their disease, and in turn, increases their compliance with the treatment strategy.
DIAGNOSING DRY EYE IN YOUR CLINIC
1. Implement a Concise Algorithm to Address Ocular Surface Disease (OSD)
Dr. Henri Reis, MD, owner of Integra Eye Care Centre in Burnaby, B.C, created a Dry Eye Algorithm which was inspired by the DEWS II study. It begins with giving every patient a dry eye questionnaire to fill out which classifies which patients are reporting symptoms of dry eye. From there, the results of the questionnaire can then be implemented into the algorithm’s flowchart to determine the correct pathway to diagnosis and treatment.
DED is a complex disease, with a wide range of signs and symptoms that need to be analyzed in a strategic and organized way. Using Dr. Reis’ algorithm is important, as it helps to prevent errors and oversights while elevating patient care and improving clinical outcomes.
2. Advanced Diagnosis and Management Solutions
I-MED Pharma has the quickest, most reliable and economical diagnostic tools available for accurately measuring tear osmolarity and tear volume in your patients.
I-PEN® Osmolarity System
One of the most effective ways to measure osmolarity (the concentration of dissolved salts in solution) is with the I-PEN® Osmolarity System. The I-PEN®, used in conjunction with the single-use-sensors (SUS) is a hand-held, electronic device that measures osmolarity in approximately two seconds of contact with the eyelid tissue. No calculations are required.
The I-PEN® is designed for use as an in-practice screening device, both for patients presenting with dry eye symptoms and for all pre-and post-surgical patients. In addition, the I-PEN® is an invaluable asset for monitoring the progress of dry eye treatment therapies.
The I-PEN® is for professional in-vivo diagnostic use only.
An important step in diagnosing aqueous deficient DED is to examine and measure tear function by absorbing the tears. The SMTube® is a strip meniscometry test used as a diagnostic method to measure tear function.
MEASURING SUCCESS AND SCHEDULING FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS
It is important to be able to measure if your DED patients are improving over time. When the Dry Eye Algorithm is used at consecutive visits, you can look at all quantifiable factors to determine if there has been any improvement.
The core factors used to assess progress/improvement are:
- Tear Osmolarity Test (readings are taken with the I-PEN®)
- The Patient Questionnaire
These results can then be shared with patients, showing them exactly where they fall on the algorithm, which helps them understand their condition better, even when there may be a disconnect between their signs and their symptoms. This empowers patients and often helps them to continue with their therapy, thus improving clinical outcomes.
In order to measure the progress of patients, follow-up appointments are recommended to take place one month, three months, six months, and one year after the initial visit. Subsequent appointments can then be scheduled as per the doctor’s recommendation.