July 20, 2016
Gina M. Wesley, OD, MS, FAAO, recommends evaluating all patients for clinical signs of dry eye, as well as asking all patients questions about the quality of their day-to-day vision and eye comfort. Taking the small amount of time needed to ask simple questions, and keeping in mind that dry eye most likely affects nearly all patients, will allow you to tap into a growing opportunity to better serve your patients and grow your practice.
Ask the Right Questions
Take Time to Educate
ASK ALL PATIENTS. Realize that dry eye potentially affects nearly all of your patients, regardless of age or other demographics, so evaluate all patients for it.
ASK KEY QUESTIONS. Ask three key questions: Do your eyes ever feel uncomfortable and dry? Are you feeling that you are having fluctuations, or changes, in your vision throughout the day? Do you use, or feel the need to use, artificial tears throughout the day?
MAKE TIME. It only takes 10 to 15 seconds to ask the three basic questions, and it provides you with a wealth of information that can then be followed-up on in a later visit.
AFFECTS ALL DEMOGRAPHICS. Digital device use means that people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles are susceptible to dry eye.
EDUCATE EVEN ASYMPTOMATIC. If you notice that a patient who is asymptomatic has signs of dry eye in your clinical evaluation explain to the patient that you’re noticing early signs of dry eye, and that this is a condition that needs to be monitored and possibly treated.
HEIGHTEN AWARENESS. Let patients know the symptoms of dry eye so they can be aware of it in case they begin experiencing these symptoms in their daily lives.
ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. There is always room to improve patients’ daily lives and visual comfort. Let patients know it’s your job to use new technology and knowledge to help them see and feel better.
INVEST IN INSTRUMENTATION. New technology that allows you to better evaluate for dry eye provides an opportunity to enhance care and grow your practice, as at least 15-20 percent of your patient base probably has dry eye, and nearly 100 percent could have it.
SHARE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Be aware yourself of dry eye symptoms you may be experiencing, and share your experience, and that of your own family, in getting treated for it.
Gina Wesley, OD, MS, FAAO,owns Complete Family Eyecare of Medina, Minn. To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org