Vol. 2, #23   •   Thursday, September 30, 2021


Review's Chief Clinical Editor
Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO

Provides you with cutting-edge clinical strategies for optimal management of ocular surface disease and beyond.


The Importance of Patient Education

Knowing how to effectively manage dry eye disease is important but without proper education of the patient, success is unlikely. Here is a process to help you successfully guide your patients.

When I’m asked what’s the first equipment to purchase when establishing a dry eye clinic, I always say educational tools. The best treatment in the world is worthless if the patient doesn’t adhere to your recommendations because you haven’t effectively communicated to them. The following are the three key areas to support your patient education efforts.

Images and Animations
The first device to acquire is a slit lamp imaging system (e.g., Haag-Streit, TelScreen, Firefly, Zeiss, etc.). As much as I wish I could recall a patient’s grade 2 staining prior to treatment, nothing beats looking at the actual image of the cornea or conjunctiva. Imaging also plays a key role in educating patients. When I can point out the pathology magnified on a digital screen, it’s easy for the patient to understand their condition and why it requires treatment. Patients feel empowered, and compliance increases dramatically.

Another essential education tool is Rendia’s (formerly Eyemaginations) engagement software offering animations and patient point-of-view examples. We also run the Rendia dry eye video on loop in the reception area so patients are more educated with the condition prior to seeing me. I or my staff can then reinforce the information using the animations one-on-one with the patient.

Key Staff Members
Another important aspect of patient education is to appoint a scribe, who will also serve as your clinic coordinator. This key staff member helps with patient flow and education, and ensures that day-to-day operations run efficiently. This is the person you hand the patient off to upon concluding your exam and after you have communicated your concerns and treatment recommendations. This person can fill out a form providing patient instructions, as well as e-scribe the prescription and verify the follow-up exam.

Understanding the Dry Eye Disease Process
The last key area of education is ensuring the patient understands their disease process so proper expectations are in place. For example, once dry eye disease has taken hold (i.e., adaptive immunity), patients can expect the disease to act similar to that of asthma or arthritis. That is, it may be a lifelong condition that has to be managed daily despite new treatments and procedures making it easier on the patient. Even with regular treatments, there commonly will be four to six flareups per year. So it’s important to educate the patient about a new tool to treat the inevitable dry eye flares, EYSUVIS (0.25% loteprednol), which is FDA approved for the short-term treatment of dry eye signs and symptoms, or what we call dry eye flares.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Patient education is essential. A slit lamp with a camera/screen as well as educational tools such as Rendia engagement software can help highlight the patient’s disease, while dedicated staff members can further support patient education efforts. It’s also key to educate the patient on the course of dry eye including commonly experienced flares.



Supported by an independent medical grant from Kala Pharmaceuticals

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