GPs lack confidence in treating dry eye, finds research

An online survey of 200 GPs found that most believe dry eye disease should be treated by an optometrist

18 Aug 2015 by Ryan O'Hare

More than half of GPs questioned in an online survey believe that dry eye should be managed by an optometrist, according to research commissioned by Scope Ophthalmics. 

The survey of 200 GPs revealed that 77% of doctors do not feel fully confident in treating the condition, despite seeing an average of seven dry eye patients a week. The findings also revealed that 70% of dry eye patients require repeat visits, and almost one third (31%) of patients prescribed hypromellose drops returned with problems. 

Scope Ophthalmics’ marketing manager, Paul O’Reilly, said: “Optometrists are expertly equipped to provide a more in depth consultation, and have the clinical time to follow up to ensure correct compliance and explore different treatment pathways. Over 70% of patients make repeat visits to a GP, optometrist or pharmacist when suffering with dry eye, suggesting that first line treatments are often not sufficient for the majority of patients.” 

Optometrist and president of the British Contact Lens Association, Brian Tompkins, added: “GPs receive very little ophthalmic training and realise that their knowledge about the eye is limited. It’s ingrained that a prescription of hypromellose will solve the problem, but it doesn’t. This new research demonstrates the need for both optometrist-led dry eye clinics and alternative treatment options.”

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