Contact Lens Practice Pearls
Working with Your Staff to Provide Dry Eye Care
BY JESSICA H. MATHEW, OD, PHD, FAAO
Nowadays, we know that dry eye disease affects more individuals than we ever thought before. Potentially, all patients who walk through our doors are dry eye candidates, and care should be taken to listen to their complaints. This is especially true of contact lens patients, as this is one of the top reasons for contact lens dropout. Patients who have ocular surface disease are desperately looking for their eyecare practitioners to provide sustained relief, with or without contact lens wear.
In the past, treatments for dry eye were limited to a handful of artificial tears about which neither patients nor practitioners could get that excited.
But with recent advances, we have more technologies and better tools for diagnosing and managing dry eye disease than ever before.
Effective and Efficient Care
More tests and more treatment options can often translate into more chair time, but there are simple steps you can take that will allow you to incorporate effective and efficient care for these patients into your practice. The following is a list of steps that you and your staff should do to provide the best care.
1. Get everyone on board. The most important step is getting your staff on board. They need to be enthusiastic and committed to the treatments and products that your office can offer for dry eye.
2. The eyecare practitioner gives recommendations, the staff implements them. Next, you need to assign your staff to implement your recommendations for patients.
3. The staff educates and counsels patients. Much like a LASIK or cataract counselor, your staff member can spend the extra needed time to educate patients and get them excited about your treatment plan.
4. The staff schedules and performs certain tests (i.e., ocular surface workups and follow-up treatments). Your dry eye staff can also perform ocular surface work-ups, follow-up treatments, and provide education on evolving treatment plans and supplemental products (Table 1). Delegating these responsibilities to your staff frees up more chair time, allowing for better patient turnover and increased business revenue.
|OCULAR SURFACE WORKUP|
|2. Schirmer’s test|
|3. Tear imaging/analysis|
|1. Thermal pulsation|
|2. Allergy testing|
|3. Sjögren’s testing|
|4. Inflammation testing|
|5. Repeat osmolarity and tear imaging/analysis|
|SALE OF SUPPLEMENTAL PRODUCTS|
|1. Artificial tears|
|2. Lid scrubs|
|3. Dry eye glasses and goggles|
|4. Nutritionals (i.e., omega-3)|
|5. Hot/cold mask|
When everyone in your office pitches in with dry eye care, your patients will benefit. CLS
Dr. Mathew is a research assistant professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry. She manages patients who have severe corneal distortions and require specialty contact lenses, and she is also involved in basic science and clinical trial research with The Ocular Surface Institute. She has received research funding from Allergan, CooperVision, Clearlab, Essilor, Shire, TearLab, Menicon, and Vistakon. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.