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Hottest stories of 2014: Dry eye


Our editorial advisory board looks back on the top five dry eye stories of the year and discusses why these stories were important to optometry in 2014.

1. Dry eye and contact lens wear

This article from Optometry Times Chief Optometric Editor Ernie Bowling, OD, FAAO, looks at how dry eye affects contact lens wearers. Dr. Bowling says eyecare practitioners can help prevent dropout by treating the underlying dry eye symptoms to keep their patients comfortable in contact lenses.

“How do we keep our contact lens patients who suffer from dry eye comfortable in their contact lenses? First, be proactive. Diagnose and treat dry eye before attempting contact lens wear,” writes Dr. Bowling.

Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Katherine M. Mastrota, OD, FAAO, remembers the day she became a contact lens wearer.

“To this day, the excitement of having clear vision without glasses gives me great delight,” she says. “When a patient drops out of contact lens wear, as a doctor I feel defeated, and I can only imagine the disappointment and frustration of the now non-lens wearer. Dr. Bowling’s important article aids the practitioner in preparing and optimizing the ocular surface for contact lens wear by addressing dry eye that can be a major contributor to contact lens failure. By acting upon simple ‘prep-steps,’ your contact lens wearer not only will remain happy in his lenses longer, more importantly, he will enjoy healthier, safer lens wear.”

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2. Assess dry eye from a systemic standpoint

Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO, suggests ODs should not just treat the symptoms of dry eye, but also assess dry eye as a potential manifestation of systemic concern. Autoimmune disease, a patient’s environment, medications, aging, and nutrition can all produce dry eye symptoms.

“Approaching dry eye from a systemic standpoint can potentially benefit patients in the long term and improve the quality of care we provide,” writes Dr. Brujic.

According to Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Katherine M. Mastrota, OD, FAAO, comfortable contact lens wear is a privilege of the ocular surface.

“Identifying and addressing compromise in this system rewards the doctor and patient with contact lens-wearing luxury,” she says. “As doctors, we must look beyond the narrow goal of vanity, understanding that dry eye may be an early indicator of significant systemic inflammatory disease. In this must-read, Dr. Mile Brujic reminds us of the diagnostics at our disposal to assist us better defining dry eye. Remember, you may not only change a life tackling dry eye, you may save one.”

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3. A different approach to treating demodex blepharitis

It seems like everyone was talking about demodex this year. This article from Scott Schachter, OD, discusses how he assesses and treats demodex blepharitis in his practice.

“While new treatments under consideration include topical or oral ivermectin and Greenbug for People cedar oil, a new treatment paradigm is taking shape, and tea tree oil is at the heart of it,” writes Dr. Schachter.

Says demodex guru and Optometry  Times Editorial Advisory Board member Milton Hom, OD, FAAO, FAAAI: “With all of the talk about demodex, we really want to know how to treat it.  We now have commercially available options that has taken us out of the realm of do-it-yourself treatments. “

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4. All eye drops are not created equal

This article is not from 2014, but clearly readers still find value in its message. Optometry Times spoke with eyecare professionals from around the country about the drops they recommend for their patients suffering from dry eye after procedures like LASIK and cataract surgery.   

"It's important to understand that all drops are not the same," Mihir Parikh, MD, told Optometry Times. “A lot of patients use whatever was on sale that week at the drugstore. So, when they complain about dry, red, or irritated eyes, the first question I ask is precisely what drops are they using. If they don't use the drops or any of the other super drops, I say, ‘You need to convert.’”

Clearly practitioners continue to search for relief for their dry eye patients, says Optometry Times Editor in Chief and Content Channel Director Gretchyn M. Bailey, NCLC, FAAO. “The fact that our readers are digging deeper into our site for older content shows the value of this story discussing which rewetting drops work and which don’t.”

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5. Why has Demodex gone viral?

In a piece from our March issue, we looked at why demodex has become such a hot topic in the eyecare community in recent months. Last year, we did a series of videos and articles with some key opinion leaders in optometry about demodex-how to diagnose it, how to treat it, why it’s important, and more.

“The ocular effects of a Demodex infestation is an often overlooked clinical condition,” says Optometry Times Chief Optometric Editor Ernie Bowling, OD, FAAO, NAP. “The articles and videos shown in Optometry Times raised the awareness of Demodex infestation  in the clinical optometric community.”

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