Article Date: 5/1/2012

A Multi -“Teared” Opportunity
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A Multi -“Teared” Opportunity

Consider the benefits of advances in ocular surface disease management.

From the Executive Director Jim Thomas

Bad puns, such as the one in the headline above, often attract attention but should immediately be followed by an apology or explanation. In terms of explanation, advances in ocular surface disease, including those discussed in this month's issue of OM, can provide optometric practices with several opportunities.

Take diagnosis, for example. As Marc Bloomenstein, O.D., notes in his article, “How to Manage Ocular Surface Disease,” (beginning of page 24) the diagnosis of dry eye has relied on tests, which can be misleading, or an assessment of symptoms. However, new testing devices, such as those listed on pages 32 and 33, can provide a more objective assessment of the tear film and, as result, a more confident diagnosis.

Providing the “show”

In addition, many clinicians are not content just to tell patients about a condition, they like to show them, such as when doctors use patients' fundus photographs for patient education. The measurements provided by new diagnostic devices may provide the “show” for dry eye patients.

Technology doesn't stop at diagnosis. One new device treats meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) with heat and intermittent pressure. Also, improvements in tear technology may provide greater relief to patients who suffer from ocular surface disease. An understanding of the current research on dry eye, allergy and MGD can offer new insights into the management of the majority of patients.

The chart on page 12, “April Allergy Numbers Top 2011 Peak,” suggests that the average practice should have experienced a recent uptick in visits from this majority of patients. Here, the underlying assumption is that patients know your practice treats ocular allergy. If you find your patients are under-informed, consider revising your marketing to include targeted messages about ocular surface disease. Professional campaigns can educate patients, increase patient visits and support your prescribed course of treatment.

An inclusive approach

As this month's dry eye column (page 57) illustrates, ocular surface disease knows no age limits — even children can suffer from dry eye. In addition, dry eye can signal an underlying systemic problem, writes this month's author, Amber Gaume Giannoni, O.D. Dry eye is a surface issue with implications that can run deep.

As always, we invite you to join this discussion. Feel free to share your insights, concerns and questions by emailing me at james.thomas@wolterskluwer.com. OM



Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: May 2012, page(s): 4