Dry Eye needs to be treated

I’m Whitney Hauser, OD, founder of DryEyeCoach.com and it’s an honor to join the ODsOnFB.com team as editor of the dry eye section. The art and science of dry eye disease make it particularly social media-friendly.

With so many different approaches to care, doctors can share what works and what hasn’t in their practices.  The absolutely wrong way to treat this issue is to not treat it at all.

Dry Eye is everywhere.

It’s in every journal, at every continuing education lecture, on the biggest signs at national meetings and, most importantly, in the optometrist’s chair.  No matter how doctors may try to avoid it… dry eye is inescapable.

To be fair, it’s always been a problem. The red-headed stepchild of the eye care community, it was often the last to make the list of assessments and the most under-treated condition in the plan.

A Gallop poll in 2008 noted that 72% of patients with dry eye complaints leave with artificial tears alone.  While that statistic is nearly a decade old, some practitioners still subscribe to tear supplements alone as their protocol.

We need awareness

The omnipresence of dry eye is caused in large part by shifting demographics leading to an increased demand for solutions and massive awareness campaigns by the industry that bring the disease to the forefront of both doctors’ and patients’ minds.  Admitting there is a problem, is the first step to recovery.

Doctors, and optometrists, in particular, need to embrace the future of dry eye care and the role they play in its diagnosis and treatment.  Proper management of the disease can improve a patient’s quality of life and lead to patient annuity within the practice.