Pamela Theriot, OD, FAAO
Clinical Director of the Dry Eye Center at Lusk Eye Specialists in Shreveport, LA
Why a write book about dry eye, and are you working on a second?
Every time we go to a new city, I get a job and within three years we are moving again. Right around the two-year mark I start having patients who want to schedule with me and discuss their families with me. I finally get to feel like, “OK, I’m their eye doctor.” Then we move, and I start all over again. I wrote the book to reach more patients with the idea that dry eye is something that can be controlled. I wanted to build a community online where it didn’t matter where I was living. I have thought about a second book. A colleague suggested that we should write a book together, so that might happen in 2020. That book will be geared specifically for women, addressing cosmetic concerns that women have around dry eye.
Why offer dry eye treatment plans through your website?
When I’m getting ready to move, some of my patients say, “You can’t leave. Who am I going to see?” I refer them to a colleague who I know will take good care of them. Once you build a relationship with patients, they are loyal to you. Now they can reach out to me through my website. I have patients email me every day to tell me things about their eyes or their families because we have built relationships over the years.
What's been the reaction to your website from patients and other ODs?
So far, so good. I haven’t had any complaints yet that I am giving away the farm or that I am not treating patients properly. I think the more patients know about dry eye, the more awareness is out there. Then the better all of us will do in our offices. I think awareness will drive more patients into our clinics.
What do you love most about what you do?
Vision is our most precious gift. I love showing patients how they can treat it as a precious gift. When I have patients come in and they admit, “I’m being honest, I haven’t removed these contact lenses in six months,” it makes me want to cry on the inside. [Laughs]. I encourage healthy habits. I don’t show them pictures of corneal ulcers, but I tell them they are putting themselves at significant risk. My favorite part is being able to educate patients about the dangers they are putting themselves under with the habits they have cultivated through years of neglect.