In Arizona, there is no escaping dry air. In some parts of the arid state, the summer humidity level barely climbs into the 20 percent range; 40 percent is considered comfortable. “We’re in dry Arizona, so a dry eye conversation happens with most patients, including children,” says Sheryl Simms, OD, of Urban Optique and Eyecare in Chandler.
While many patients have concerns about preservatives in eye drops, Dr. Simms says that she specifically discusses natural
eye drops as an option for children. “I start the conversation by noting that most drops sold over the counter have preservatives. ‘Preservatives can cause dryness, so how could a dry eye relief drop help when it creates dryness? Natural Ophthalmics Tear
Stimulation Eye Drops increase tear production; that helps your body to do the work rather than you having to use so many drops during the day,’ I tell them.”
Patients receptive to option
She reaches for Natural Ophthalmics natural tear stimulation drops that increase tear production. “Most patients are truly receptive to homeopathic treatment and prefer the natural approach. They are interested in knowing that the drops are effective and that there are no side effects. Patients are impressed that we prescribe natural products. They are comfortable with natural treatments” that they can use to address dry eye symptoms from environmental causes or extended digital device use, she says.
She schedules follow-up visits with her dry eye patients. “They always come back and tell me that these drops are incredible. They love Natural Ophthalmics Tear Stimulation Eye Drops. I’ll ask them, ‘What’s your favorite drop?’ They always say, ‘The one I get here in the office.’”
Indeed, dry eye patients sometimes come to the office just to purchase more of the natural eye care products for themselves or even for friends who are experiencing dry eye. Natural Ophthalmics products are on display in the practice so patients know that
they’re available at the practice.
Dry eye destination
Urban Optique and Eyecare has become a destination for dry eye sufferers and patients with blepharitis. Dr. Simms has opened a MoistureEyes Spa, which she describes as a “high-end dry eye spa” offering MiBo ThermoFlo treatments. “There’s no cure for dry eye; we’re just trying to reduce risk and progression and make people more comfortable.”
The high-tech approach is complemented by a natural approach; one is not exclusive of the other. Dr. Simms creates a customized plan for patients—some of whom don’t even realize they have dry eye. “The symptoms can confuse them. They’ll say, ‘My eyes are tearing and they’re wet,’ and I explain that is the body’s reflex response. Excessive tearing is often the over-response to dry eye.”
Dr. Simms begins her discussions with patients on dry eye with an overview of the benefits of natural treatment. “I explain that
Omega 3s will thicken the tear layer, hot compresses will melt away the blockage in our glands and allow better layers to our tears and the Natural Ophthalmics Drops will reduce tear evaporation rate and increase tear production. We offer heated lid massage in our office, along with lid margin cleansing. Each treatment recommendation is critical for improvement because not just one will solve the dry eye issue. As a dry eye patient myself, I explain that I use these products and receive these services, too,” she says.
Her orthokeratology patient base is growing, and Natural Ophthalmics products are an important part of the process. “I prescribe only the Ortho-K Thin and Thick Drops for insertion. Using a preservative-free drop is a must when applying the lens because a preservative will create disruption on the cornea. Ortho-K wearers can use either drop during the day because it not only lubricates the eye, but it has a natural anti-inflammatory effect.”
The key to long-term contact lens wear is comfort and clear vision. “I explain that because there is a high contact lens dropout rate due to dry eye, it is important to build the tear layer so patients are seeing the best and feel most comfortable in their lenses. Natural Ophthalmics Drops are safe and effective and help patients to be successful with contact lens wear. We receive more patient referrals due to patients having great success with contact lens wear than we do for any other service,” she says.
Dr. Simms, a 1995 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry, moved to Arizona in 1997. After working in a corporate location for several years, she opened Urban Optique and Eyecare in 2006 as a practice that emphasizes its mix in high-tech equipment, a wide selection of frames, orthokeratology fittings and treatment of dry eye and allergies. As patients continue to come to her to solve
their eye health and eye care needs, she is happy to provide them with a range of solutions to fit their unique lifestyles.