As is true for most primary care optometrists, Bridgitte Shen Lee, OD, of Houston, Texas, is seeing many more patients who complain of dry eye. “Dry eye and blepharitis are big growth areas,” she says. “There is not a ‘one thing or one treatment’ that takes care of the dry eye. You have to look at the whole picture.”
She follows the therapy outlined by dry eye expert Paul Karpecki, OD. “Go from the outside in. Start on the outside with the lids and lashes to remove the blockage [Meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD], reduce the biofilm [blepharitis], control the inflammation [ocular surface] and build the tear film. By doing so, you re-establish a healthy ocular surface and allow the patient’s natural oil to protect the tear film,” she says. If that doesn’t happen, all the over-the-counter supplemental tears that the patient uses won’t solve the problem.
Dr. Shen Lee, who serves on advisory boards for OCuSOFT, says she is a firm believer in the company’s ocular health and aesthetic products. “We use a lot of OCuSOFT products. For blepharitis treatment, my office’s firstline therapy is to combine OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Plus Platinum with a hypochlorous acid. For patients whose insurance does not cover prescription hypochlorous acid, OCuSOFT’s
HypoChlor™ spray or gel is a great nonprescription alternative that patients can buy from optometrist’s offices,” she says. OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Plus Platinum’s phytosphingosine (PSG-2) has natural antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties that help patients to maintain
healthy lid margins.
In addition, optometrists need to look for demodex when examining lids and lashes during the slit lamp exam. “In Houston, a lot of women wear eyelash extensions and heavy eye makeup,” says Dr. Shen Lee. “If proper cleaning is not done, it can result in blepharitis and demodex. OCuSOFT Oust Demodex Cleanser Foam and scrub pads have tea tree oil as a main ingredient, which works well for these patients,” she says.
For patients with evaporative dry eye (EDE) symptoms, OCuSOFT’s Retaine MGD tear supplement works well. “Patients with MGD and EDE do well with the tear supplement because Retaine MGD has a positive charge, and the patient’s dry eye surface is negatively charged. When neutralized, it forms an effective barrier against tear evaporation,” she explains. “We encourage all of our contact lens patients, especially the ones who show signs of MGD, to use Retaine MGD.” Dr. Shen Lee’s practice, Vision Optique, performs meibography on all patients over age 18 and many younger contact lens patients who have dry eye symptoms. By taking the time to
educate patients on what they can do to prevent symptoms or complications and protect their eyes for a lifetime, she and her practice partner have built high patient loyalty.
Dr. Shen Lee educates her patients on why they should use specific OCuSOFT products in the exam rooms. “I tell patients that we’ve done the research, and at the drugstore, they might not be buying the exact product that I want them to use. I want them to take home exactly what I’ve prescribed and follow our instructions,” she says. Her front desk team lets patients know that the office’s price matches that of the drugstore and popular online retailers, they are getting the prescribed product and they’re supporting a local business. “We want to make sure our patients can begin the treatment with the prescribed product and experience relief of symptoms,” she says.