There are times when Loretta Li, OD, is working with patients and simply can’t achieve good vision during the refraction. She’ll stop what she’s doing and put in a drop of Natural Ophthalmics Tear Stimulation formula. She’ll do the same if she suspects the patient is suffering from symptoms of dryness or dry eye during pretesting. “Many patients don’t realize that dry eyes can distort their vision,” she says. Once she addresses that immediately, she can gain better results—and better outcomes—from the rest of the exam.
Dr. Li began using Natural Ophthalmics natural eye care products after being introduced to the option in a show exhibit hall. First she tried the Tear Stimulation Forte Dry Eye Drops for herself. Her experience was a good one, so she brought the line into the practice she started in 1988 in Westminster, California.
“Since this is a primary care practice, I had a number of post-menopausal women who were telling me that their eyes felt dry and uncomfortable,” she says. “I was desperately looking for something to help them because they can be desperate in their request for
help. It’s quite painful.” She tried several different products before finding Natural Ophthalmics, and most were artificial tears that didn’t provide long-lasting relief. Tear stimulation drops are available in Japan, but the Natural Ophthalmics line was the first she heard of here. “It’s affordable, and it seems to help people,” she says.
Now she recommends the Tear Stimulation Drops for a number of patients—male and female, young and old. As women found relief, the men in their lives heard about it, too, and started stopping by to see if the drops would work for them. She also recommends it for students of all ages who spend hours a day staring at computer screens and digital devices.
Ortho-k practice builds
Dr. Li has an active orthokeratology practice, particularly with young patients whose parents are eager to help children avoid the progressive myopia that they went through. “When orthokeratology patients’ eyes are dry, the procedure doesn’t shape the cornea as well. We need a good ocular surface and tears to help the process,” she says.
She has found good success by using Natural Ophthalmics’ Ortho-K Thin Drops during the day to promote a better tear flow. She encourages children to instill drops when they come home from school, especially if they’re about to sit down for more screen time. By optimizing the ocular lens surface, she feels that she has better success, both in terms of the process and the patients’ comfort.
Dr. Li often starts a mild to moderate dry eye patient with Tear Stimulation Drops. “There are other tools available—from prescription medications to punctal plugs. But starting with Tear Stimulation Drop can be helpful,” she says. She also often pairs that with omega 3 supplementation if she suspects inflammation. She’ll follow these patients and decide what the next steps should be.
Allergy or dry eye?
Patients often don’t know what the cause of their discomfort is, and they’ll often guess that it must be an allergy. “We have to separate allergies from dry eyes from other factors, such as whether a patient is straining because he or she needs refractive correction,” she says.
That can sometimes require some additional education. “We have people who walk into our office because they’ve heard we carry natural eye care products and ask to buy the Allergy Drops or the Tear Stimulations Drops.” The staff has been trained to explain that Dr. Li needs to see them first to rule out another condition or refractive error. “I do use Natural Ophthalmics Allergy Desensitization
Drops for patients who have a true allergy,” she says.
She encourages her patients not to try to self-diagnose because they can spend time and money using products that might not help them. Instead, they can come to her and leave with confidence in the diagnosis and the natural products that they want.