Jan Hellstern, Deputy Head of Management, Optician Carl Müller GmbH Frankfurt am Main, delivers his vision on dry eyes.
How do your customers react when you offer them dry eye screening? How often is the offer accepted?
In recent years, I have noticed that the awareness of the problem of dry eyes has increased. Frankfurt is a banking metropolis and a city in which many people spend their working day on a computer in a fully air-conditioned open-plan office. Most people are realising that an appointment with the ophthalmologist or even purchasing drops from a pharmacy or chemist only relieve the symptoms of dryness that arise from being in such conditions for a short period of time.
Meanwhile, dry eye screening is a central tool in my daily work, which I always offer my clients based on understanding their detailed medical history.
This offer is warmly welcomed. When I refer to dry eye screening, I mean an examination that is used to identify any issues and can lead to dry eye management. In the classic sense of a screening, it is used to identify and reduce any initial abnormalities. Such an analysis is naturally extensive and is carried out by an optometrist in-house. We see approx. 3-4 customers a week, but we would like to see more.
Since April this year, at the optician’s, Carl Müller, we now also have the possibility carrying out a quick and uncomplicated tear film analysis, using the test version of the new Visionix VX120+ Dry Eye, before objective refraction. Therefore, each employee, independently of optometrists, can recognise the distinctive features of their customers’ tear films, before starting with the actual eye measurement.
Considering that unfavourable tear film conditions at the time of refraction can make the visual acuity up to 2 levels worse, it is clear that this type of tear film analysis should be an integral part of any refraction.
Separate to the examinations leading up to dry eye management, the tear film condition can be recognised early and taken into account at the time of the refraction. Targeted administration of eye drops before measurement therefore makes life easier for both the eye examiner and the tested person. Above all, however, we are reaching significantly more of our customers and making them aware of dry eyes. This approach then leads to more comprehensive dry eye screenings.