The Business of Contact Lenses

What It Means to Really Treat Dry Eye, Not Just Say You Do

The Business of Contact Lenses

What It Means to Really Treat Dry Eye, Not Just Say You Do

By Gary Gerber, OD

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you have some eyeglass frames in your office. And if you do, you probably have some made of plastic, some made of metal, and perhaps some made of both. You also probably prescribe more than just single vision eyeglass lenses in more than one material. I'd also bet you fit more than one brand of contact lenses and that they aren't all spherical.

Finally, I'd guess that you diagnose and treat dry eye. However, chances are that your arsenal of dry eye treatment weapons is nowhere as diverse as what you have for eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you're committed to treating dry eye, does that make sense? Just as you have the “kitchen sink” of eyeglasses alternatives available, shouldn't your dry eye “kitchen sink” be analogously equipped so you can have everything at your disposal?

A Successful Dry Eye Practice

Saying you treat dry eye and really treating it are often two different things. When we take a look at our clients who are successful in this arena, we see several commonalities that I want to share.

First, these practitioners immerse themselves in up-to-the-second clinically relevant information. They seek the latest studies via journals and continuing education courses and use this new information as soon as possible.

They take nothing at face value and don't routinely change their clinical protocol on content hearsay. Rather, after reading or hearing something, they try it themselves and decide for themselves. From there, their own treatment protocols get modified as needed. And those same protocols are fluid and constantly changing with any new information that they seek and receive.

Next, they actively seek new devices and drugs in their quest to alleviate their patients' discomfort. Cutting-edge technology is not something that they run from. Rather, they actively and aggressively seek it and are not scared by, “there's no procedure code,” or costs that are higher than customary. Instead, just as with their opticals, they seek “complete and comprehensive solutions” and, once they determine that the equipment or drugs are clinically effective, they start using them right away.

Their marketing also is on point and reflects their persistent dedication to their desire to be at the forefront of dry eye care. This marketing is not a nondescript bullet in an ad or passing thought in a radio tag line. Instead, the marketing doggedly reflects their commitment to dry eye care.

It is obvious to staff in these offices that their practitioner is a dry eye treatment evangelist. Having seen repeated clinical successes and heard the continually positive patient accolades of genuine relief, the staff is aligned with the practitioner's vision of being the premier dry eye expert in his community.

Finally, with the consistency of all these strategies, happy patients tell others about “the dry eye specialist who fixed my problem.”

All of the above is one way to treat dry eye—and I mean really treat dry eye—and not just pay the disease lip service and say that you do.

What Approach Will You Take?

There also are practitioners who hand patients an assortment of over-the-counter artificial tears and say, “These may or may not help you. Take a few and try them.” That is not treating dry eye. It's ignoring it and doing your patients a disservice. It's incomplete care that's the same as telling your eyeglass patients, “Here's the frame. You have to get the lenses elsewhere.”

Which practice is yours? Your patients deserve the kitchen sink. CLS

Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice, a company offering proven and comprehensive practice and profit building systems. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter @PowerYourDream.