Many older patients are told that their dry, red eyes are just a part of getting older, like aching knees or gray hair. It’s true—patients over 60 are far more likely to have dry eye than people under 30, but, like aching knees and gray hair, dry eye is treatable.
When these patients enter our practices, feeling uncomfortable and frustrated, unable to do the activities they love, and often repeatedly brushed off by other doctors, we need to convey that they’ve finally come to the right place. Though age is a factor in dry eye disease, it is certainly no reason to dismiss it.
In my practice, our words and actions convey our knowledge that dry eye disease is a real, well-understood, and objectively measured problem, and that we are a caring, experienced place to receive treatment.
The following strategies can help you convey those messages to patients of any age, but they are especially helpful for patients who have struggled over time with more advanced dry eye disease.
Dr. Desai is a consultant to Lumenis, TearLab and Johnson & Johnson Vision.