In this digital age, a mine of information is publicly available at our fingertips. But finding a high quality, reliable healthcare provider is not as simple as a Google search. Read on for some useful tips on how to find the best dry eye clinic for your condition.
Dry eyes are on the increase. Blame digital screens, longer working hours, air-conditioning, western diet or a whole range of other factors, but there’s no denying the fact that we are seeing a lot more dry eyes, particularly in younger people, than we did two decades ago. This epidemic has seen the rise in dry eye clinics, especially in major cities, but how can you tell if they are going to help?
Choosing the right optometrist or ophthalmologist for your dry eye is an important decision and can make all the difference in achieving successful relief from this debilitating condition. We have put together the following checklist to ease the task of choosing an expert in dry eye management:
Checklist for finding a dry eye clinic
1. Do they really listen to your concerns and spend some time discussing your dry eye history and what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past?
Many dry eye patients visit four or five experts* before they find one that tailors the treatment to their individual condition. One size does not fit all when it comes to dry eye treatment and each person needs their own dry eye management plan based on their unique clinical findings, history and symptoms.
2. Do they have diagnostic equipment to image your eyelid’s oil glands and your tear lipid layer?
Up to 70% of dry eye has an evaporative component. Understanding what role evaporation plays in your symptoms is essential to successful treatment.
3. Do they baseline all your dry eye measurements so that your progress can be tracked?
Dry eye can be measured and graded with the right diagnostic tools. Taking baselines of these measurements before starting any therapy will allow objective tracking of your progress.
4. Do they take a holistic approach to your dry eye therapy that includes lifestyle and dietary factors?
One of the underlying causes of dry eye is a poor-quality lipid layer in your tear film. Dietary and lifestyle changes can alter the make-up of your oily tear secretions and greatly improve tear layer function and over all comfort.
5. Do they provide blinking rehabilitation to restore blink quality and frequency?
The blink muscles around the eyes can atrophy with lack of use and poor blinking habits become entrenched. Retraining these muscles can yield dramatic results.
6. Can they prescribe steroids and other prescription-only medications?
The mainstay of successful dry eye treatment is the elimination of underlying inflammation. This necessitates prescribing medications such as steroids and anti-allergy drops. Ask your treating optometrist if they are therapeutically endorsed.
7. Do they use a compounding pharmacist to ensure all therapeutic eye-drops are preservative-free?
Standard prescription eye-drops mostly come in mass-produced bottled formulas, which invariably contain preservatives which can further inflame dry eyes.
*Note: Under National Law, an optometrist or ophthalmologist cannot technically use the term ‘dry eye specialist’ to describe themselves even if they have extensive experience or expertise in this area, as there is no Board-recognised qualification in this area.