Supercharging your practice

March 1, 2010

By learning all they can about taking the best care of patients, optometrists can enjoy an important secondary benefit: Patients tell others about the great care they received and the practice grows.

"Optometry continues to embrace a broader spectrum of patient-care responsibilities. We are now diagnosing and treating more of all types of conditions, diseases, and abnormalities of the eye," Dr. Thomas said.

"Glaucoma only damages the optic nerve, and when you look inside the eyes you can directly observe the optic nerve," he said. "Yet, many clinicians do not grasp how important it is to analyze and study the optic nerve critically."

Once the optometrist diagnoses glaucoma, treatment is straightforward. These four classes of drugs have been proven effective in the treatment of glaucoma:

"There seems to be an overriding fear of infection, yet the reality is that almost all contact lens-related corneal problems are inflammatory in nature-not infections," Dr. Melton said. "Optometrists need to be more comfortable in intervening in inflammatory eye problems with topical corticosteroids (or at least antibiotic-steroid combinations), rather than antibiotics alone."

Shingles, a secondary infection, is caused by reactivation of the chicken pox virus. Herpes zoster affects 20% to 30% of the population at some point in their lifetime, and approximately 10% to 20% of these individuals will have herpes zoster ophthalmicus.1 Ocular involvement manifests as uveitis, keratitis, or keratouveitis, according to Dr. Thomas. Treatment of these conditions includes ster-oids to suppress the ocular inflammation and an oral antiviral medication.

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