July is Dry Eye Awareness Month and therefore I have been thinking about the most meaningful ways we as eye care providers can help our patients who suffer.
Most would agree that treatment regimens for this chronic problem should be layered, starting with over-the-counter (OTC) solutions and expanding, if necessary, to include prescription treatments. Top choices often include heated hydrating masks, humidifiers and eyelid cleansing wipes, while prescription therapies range from immunosuppressants, steroids and specialty contact lenses to in-office procedures such as intense pulsed light, microblepharoexfoliation and thermal evacuation.
But at all stages of dry eye disease, over-the-counter artificial tears are the backbone of treatment due to their effectiveness and accessibility. With that in mind, my advice to my colleagues is to communicate clearly with your patients about which drops to use and how to administer them safely.
Due to the wide range of eye relief products at the drug store around the corner, it is easy for patients to accidentally purchase items intended to relieve itching, allergies or redness, inadvertently making them dry and irritated. pre-existing. As eye care providers, it is our responsibility to educate our patients on the right drops to buy by recommending several suitable choices. For patients who need to use drops more than 4 times a day, I recommend preservative-free artificial tears, as preservatives like BAK can exacerbate ocular surface irritation. For patients who use contact lenses, it is essential that we recommend lubricating products specifically labeled for contact lens wear.
The preservative-free brands I recommend are Systane, Biotrue, Refresh, Blink, and a newer option, iVIZIA. iVIZIA is a therapeutic breakthrough from Théa that is clinically proven to provide long-lasting dry eye relief to patients, including contact lens wearers, using a unique trio of ingredients. The active ingredient povidone is a beneficial viscosifying agent for the ocular surface that provides moisturizing and lubricating properties; trehalose is a disaccharide that has been shown to provide ocular bioprotection, osmoprotection and rehydration; and hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan polysaccharide and tear film component that has the ability to lubricate and protect the corneal epithelium with extended residence time and favorable rheological properties by binding 1000 times more water than its weight.
My patients appreciate Thea’s bottle design for iVIZIA, which uses the company’s proprietary ABAK technology to enable preservative-free, multi-dose, and calibrated delivery for improved dry eye relief. It is the first easy-to-use bottle available OTC, the result of 10 years of research and development by Théa.
As we monitor the use of artificial tears, eyecare professionals should remember that our job is not done until we follow up thoroughly. Ask your patients to show you the products they use to treat their symptoms and you’ll probably be shocked at the eye drops they pull out of their purse or pocket. In addition to finding that many drops are anti-allergic or designed to treat ocular hyperemia instead of dry eye, I often see bottles with missing caps whose droppers have become encrusted with debris and makeup. It is crucial that we remind our patients to keep eye droppers clean so that they can administer their eye lubricants safely.
Because dry eye is both underdiagnosed and undertreated, many patients undertake initial treatment themselves with artificial tears. Yet our shared experience in the clinic demonstrates the importance of expert advice to the success of this diet. By customizing our artificial tear recommendations, eye care providers can help patients get the most out of this popular and widely available treatment approach.