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HomemiequipmentDeveloping a Dry Eye Practice with the ESW Vision’s Tearcheck and Tearstim: A Practice Owner’s Perspective

Developing a Dry Eye Practice with the ESW Vision’s Tearcheck and Tearstim: A Practice Owner’s Perspective

Eyes@Optometry is an independent, family friendly optometry practice that has been operating in Western Australia since 2005. With three practice locations, owner and dispenser Belinda Musitano has invested in ESW Vision’s Tearcheck and Tearstim technology to build a dry eye clinic.

Tearcheck is an educational and diagnostic tool to screen dry eye symptoms. With eight dry eye assessments, the Tearcheck allows practitioners to establish pre-treatment baseline, educate patients about dry eye, and conduct post treatment examinations.

Tearstim is the latest generation of world leading intense regulated pulsed light (IRPL) therapy calibrated specifically for dry eye management.

At Eyes@Optometry, treatments are provided by optometrists and trained staff.

Here, Ms Musitano talks about the impact of the new technology in her business.

What are some of the key reasons for your investment in Tearcheck and Tearstim IRPL technology?
As a practice owner, one of my key business goals is to be a leader in eye health care. I want to ensure that we are proving all aspects of eye care for our patients. Dry eye treatments were introduced based on patient needs and wanting to assist them.

The Tearcheck was an easy-to-use piece of equipment that can diagnose and monitor dry eye for our patients. After a dry eye consultation, treatment options are then discussed. IRPL is a first choice treatment for patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). We pair it with expression and a take home pack for optimum results for our patients.

From a business perspective, introducing IRPL with Tearstim has driven growth through a higher spend with our existing patient base. Being able to utilise our existing database and offer extra treatments means a higher average spend per patient without having to find new customers.

How has this technology enabled you to expand your practice?
By advising our allied health professional and medical network of new treatments that we are offering we have been getting more referrals – from ophthalmologists, GPs, and other optometry practices as well as local pharmacies.

This technology has also allowed me to expand our practice advertising beyond our usual geographical area. We have patients travelling up to 1.5 hours to access IRPL treatment that they have not been able to find locally.

What is your view on the growing incidence of dry eye?
We see patients doing research to find treatment for their dry eye because it impacts their everyday life and the symptoms can be debilitating. If we are not providing these treatment options then they will go elsewhere for them.

Dry eye treatments are another venue to provide a greater level of customer service. When you are able to improve their dry eye symptoms, patients are very grateful and often become loyal ambassadors for your business.

How important is dry eye education / prevention? And how has Tearcheck assisted in the education and screening process and post treatment assessments?
Due to the increased prevalence of dry eye, it’s extremely important to identify and educate our patients on the effects of dry eye disease.

The increased use of computers mean more patients are presenting to us, and some at a very young age.

By identifying dry eye disease, our optometrists can offer early intervention and treatment, which will lead to better outcomes long term. Early IRPL treatment also means less chance of MGD and retains the current function of those glands.

Tearcheck is a useful tool for patients to better understand what is going on. It’s a very visual tool with clear and concise reporting that can be explained to the patient. They become more involved and take ownership of their dry eye journey because they can physically see improvement with imaging. This also assists with compliance of at home care.

How many patients with dry eye / MGD / blepharitis do you see weekly on average?
About 25 % of all our patients identify symptoms of dry eye. This is picked up during routine screening questions in the consultation process. From there, our optometrists can recommend treatment options.

Importantly, many patients have dry eye signs but no symptoms. These patients previously have been hard to discuss treatments with, however the Tearcheck process and education has helped with converting them into preventative treatments.

All patients coming in to purchase eye drops are proactively provided information about dry eye treatments, are given a brochure to read at home, and encouraged to book in for a dry eye work up to ensure proper diagnosis and determine the best treatment plan suited to them.

What success rate do you obtain? How satisfied are you and your patients with the Tearstim?
It is difficult to quantify a success rate, although the vast majority of our patients report improved symptoms.

After having IRPL, people have less dry eye symptoms and we need to see them less regularly for ongoing intervention. Some examples are patients we were seeing monthly for blephasteam and expression we are now seeing at closer to an 8-–10 month interval. This is significant improvement on their life as less appointment times are being used to maintain their comfort.

Do you find that patients willingly pay fees for dry eye treatment?
Our patients spend from AU$140 up to $1,000 depending on the treatment that is suitable for them and their budget. All dry eye treatments and exams are privately billed.