Dry Eyes

The Oban Times - - Leisure - with John Wal­lace

One of the cer­tain­ties of life is that change is con­stant. There is sel­dom a month goes by with­out some in­no­va­tion that im­proves the qual­ity of our lives. That is par­tic­u­larly true in health care, whether it is a change in tech­nique to in­ves­ti­gate a prob­lem or a new method of treat­ment. In some cases it can be the re­al­i­sa­tion some­thing most health care prac­ti­tion­ers thought of as triv­ial ac­tu­ally can have a ma­jor detri­men­tal ef­fect on our qual­ity of life.

One ex­am­ple in eye-care is the re­al­i­sa­tion a tiny mite called De­modex is the cul­prit caus­ing the ma­jor­ity of dry eye prob­lems. Dry eyes have for many years been rel­e­gated to the list of triv­ial prob­lems that we are all ex­pected to sim­ply live with and get on with our lives re­gard­less of the dis­com­fort we are suf­fer­ing. In gen­eral eye care pro­fes­sion­als, both oph­thal­mol­o­gists and op­tometrists, have ig­nored the sub­stan­tial body of re­search over the last few years which have looked at qual­ity of life mea­sures. This is par­tic­u­larly true with pa­tients with dry eyes. I can un­der­stand this as pa­tients with very obvi- ous clin­i­cal signs of dry eye disease can have min­i­mal symp­toms and vice versa.

One of the things health pro­fes­sion­als are guilty of is not lis­ten­ing to our pa­tients. Only last month I talked about a new “Re­al­is­tic Medicine” ini­tia­tive where we should all take more time to talk to our pa­tients and ac­tu­ally lis­ten to what they are telling us. Of­ten the clues are in sim­ple throw away lines from our pa­tients.

Fre­quently I deal with dry eye pa­tients whose symp­toms ap­pear grossly dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the signs. Treat­ments range from mask­ing the prob­lem with eye drops to treat­ing the un­der­ly­ing cause of the prob­lem. The im­prove­ment in qual­ity of life mea­sures can be dra­matic.

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