Whitney Hauser : Hi. I’m Dr. Whitney Hauser. And welcome to Dry Eye Coach podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about tips for doctors just starting out in dry eye. So, if you’re looking for some new pearls about how to add dry eye in your practice, this may be the podcast for you. Today I’m joined by assistant professor at the University of Colorado Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Rich Mangan. Welcome, Rich.
Rich Mangan : Oh, thanks, Whitney. It’s great to be here. I appreciate it.
Whitney : You bet. You bet. We’re kind of excited to get to know, you know, what you think are some of the greatest things that new practitioners, or practitioners that are just trying to bring dry eye into their practice might want to add in as they develop. So, I’m going to jump in with some questions for you…
Rich : Okay.
Whitney : … right off the bat. And, what are the benefits to doctors and their patients for getting started, or treating dry eye disease? You know, there’s benefits on both sides, so give us a little bit…
Rich : Right.
Whitney: … of your thoughts there.
Rich : Right. You know, certainly, the benefit for me as a doctor in getting started was just to have a greater appreciation for the fact that ocular surface disease is in fact a real disease and not just a symptom. To be honest with you, years ago I used to hate dry eye. You know, I would go and see LASIK evals and cat evals and I was really enjoying that. And then I’d pull out a chart and it’d say dry eye and, you know, I’d just shrug in agony thinking about it. But then I went to a speaker training many years ago, in fact, this was around 2002 when Restasis came out, and it really, the panel did an excellent job of just really impressing upon the attendees that, you know, the quality of life scores of dry eye can really mimic, you know, even severe things like angina or disabling hip fracture. So, when I took that to heart, and I decided that it was time to come back to my practice and truly treat it like a disease. And so, I spent some time educating my key technicians, my team leader, and we actually carved out dedicated time just to really focus and concentrate on these patients. And what it did was, after they got to hear, you know, my walking the walk and talking the talk, you know, my dry eye practice really became more efficient because they knew what I was going to say before I was going to say it. And, but they truly developed appreciation for the fact that this is a disease.
Whitney : Yeah. You raise a good point, you know, about the kind of parallels that are between more serious, as they would be noted, diseases and dry eye disease. I think that’s where a lot of the disconnect is. It’s not so much that the doctors don’t believe it exists. I think that most eyecare providers do. But it’s the gravity of it. So, the patient sitting across from them I think is oftentimes what’s missing.
Rich : Yeah.
Whitney : So, I think you probably latched onto that well in advance of a lot of our colleagues, including myself. So…
Rich : Well, I’ve been around longer than you, Whitney. I’ve had a little bit of a head start in that respect. (laughs)
Whitney : Unfortunately, not by as much as one would think. (laughs) You feel like this has a positive impact on new referrals as well? Bringing new patients into your practice?
Rich : You know, it really does. Keep in mind, when I first started my dry eye practice I was in a co-management, a referral center, and one of the concerns we had when I brought this idea up was, how were our referring doctors going to look at this? Would they look at it like I was competing with them? And, in fact, the response was the complete opposite. They loved the fact that they had a resource in the area that really took this seriously. Patients could