Vol. 2, #03  •   Thursday, April 1, 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.


How to Improve Patient Compliance

Image of a patient with demodex blepharitis.

The most challenging dry eye patients are those presenting with clear signs of pathology but no significant symptoms.

While it’s important to educate and treat patients presenting with signs of dry eye disease, it’s often difficult to motivate asymptomatic patients to comply with the doctor’s recommendations. However, I have found the following strategy to increase compliance dramatically and to underscore for patients the progressive nature of dry eye disease.

First, take an image of the patient’s pathology, and if possible, try to enlarge the image so that areas of concern are easily visible for the patient. Consider saying something to the effect of “I’m seeing something here that concerns me,” and watch the patient’s body language rapidly change. When the doctor is concerned, the patient immediately sits ups, leans in, and pays close attention. This is a very powerful approach. Next, point out the particular pathology and explain its significance in a way that resonates with the patient. Lastly, be sure to discuss the consequences of not treating the findings.

Using the above clinical photo as an example, I would communicate to the patient that their case of demodex blepharitis concerns me as it may lead to additional issues. I would explain that if we don’t treat the condition appropriately, it may lead to further microorganism growth and damage to the lashes and oil glands that can result in thin, brittle, and missing lashes, as well as dry eye and the inability to wear contact lenses.

You’ll be amazed at how many patients become compliant with this simple three-step process.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Conveying to the patient the severity of their condition using a simple three-step strategy can increase patient compliance.

Supported by an independent medical grant from Kala Pharmaceuticals

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