Whether Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS, FBCLA, is managing dry eye patients or fitting contact lenses, including specialty contact lenses, as the principal optometrist at the University of California, Davis, Eye Center, her high level of patient education is consistent.
She is passionate about the importance of eyelid hygiene and how ocular surface disease and dry eyes can impact vision and the quality of life. These topics have been the subjects of recent publications in Optometric Management and Contact Lens Spectrum. “We are all on digital devices and are not blinking enough, which causes our eyes to become more dry,” Dr. Barnett says. Contact lens wear, similar to dry eye, is intrinsically inflammatory and may lead to dryness, since contact lenses segregate the tear film into pre- and post- lens layers, with the bulk of tears behind the contact lens. Additionally, meibomian gland dysfunction is highly prevalent and is often not diagnosed or treated. Patients with diabetes, diets low in omega fatty acids, autoimmune disease or those experiencing hormonal changes may also be affected with symptoms of dry, irritable eyes. All of these conditions can make contact lens wear uncomfortable and could lead to contact lens dropout.
Eyelid hygiene important
Dr. Barnett says that it is important to ask questions about blurry vision and how contact lenses feel at the middle and end of the day. Sometimes treatment of the eyelids, lashes and ocular surface can help eliminate fluctuating vision, so it’s important to address the problem at its root. “I treat the ocular surface, including the eyelids and lashes, and attempt to get it in pristine condition to prepare for the sharpest vision with eyeglasses and an optimal contact lens-wearing experience.”
She includes a care and treatment plan to follow. “When patients know why I am recommending a specific product, they are most
likely to follow instructions,” she says. “There are many products from OCuSOFT that have helped my patients with dry eye, ocular surface disease and Sjögren’s syndrome,” she says. “These products have improved the symptoms of burning or dryness and have
helped keep contact lens wearers more comfortable and able to stay in their contact lenses.”
Dr. Barnett tells patients the consistency of OCuSOFT® Lid Scrub Original foam is similar to foaming hand soap and to apply it to a
flat cotton pad for use. “Although instructions come with the product, a brief explanation is helpful to visualize how to use it,” she
Many patients ask Dr. Barnett for specific recommendations on makeup products. “It’s a topic that comes up every day, so it’s nice to have helpful, high-quality products to recommend. The ZORIA™ line by OCuSOFT has many good products,” she says. “Removing and replacing old makeup that may have an accumulation of bacteria is so important.” She mentions ZORIA™ Boost Lash Intensifying Serum, ZORIA™ Boost Mascara, ZORIA™ Makeup Remover and ZORIA™ Cleanser. She’s pleased patients ask her for recommendations rather than turn to retail or online sources.