Optometrists see a large disparity between the prevalence of dry eye disease and the number of patients who are treated.1 ODs know that they need to jump in with both feet, but that’s easier than it sounds.
Doctors attend dry eye courses offered at just about every meeting, and many may feel paralysis of analysis. They learn about the latest high-tech diagnostics and treatments. They read protocols for dry eye disease with a depth and breadth that makes busy practitioners wonder where to begin.
To make dry eye evaluation and treatment routine for all patients and solve the problem of this underdiagnosed, undertreated disease, we need an accessible entry point for practices that don’t have a battery of diagnostic equipment or dedicated capital and space for dry eye.
To bridge the gap between traditional practices and tech-heavy dry eye clinics, I created a new protocol with Alan Kabat, OD, FAAO—a logical, easy-to-digest framework that fits all types of practices.
The protocol is arranged in three tiers according to the level of dry eye care optometrists want to offer. At every tier, patients get the diagnosis and treatment they need, either inside the practice or through trusted referral.
Here, I would like to share a high-level overview of that framework.
1. Paulsen AJ, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Huang GH, Klein BE, Klein R, Dalton DS. Dry eye in the beaver dam offspring study: prevalence, risk factors, and health-related quality of life. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;157(4):799-806.