In an article released earlier this year by Women in Optometry, Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS, states that while she has noticed increasing awareness of the importance of eyelid hygiene, there are still too few doctors discussing this important issue with their patients.
Barnett is the principal optometrist at the UC Davis Eye Center in Sacramento, California, and works in both an outpatient ophthalmology clinic and the UC Davis Student Health and Wellness Center. Between her dual positions, she sees a wide variety of cases. Lately, Barnett has noticed a greater interest in dry eye and the health of the tear film and ocular surface, all of which are affected by eyelid hygiene.
Barnett notes that discussing eyelid hygiene in an exam is a simple task that only “takes another minute or two.” Recommending specific products to patients is essential; she wants to prevent them from purchasing a product that may actually be detrimental to their eye health.
Barnett has spent 10 years at the medical center, and in addition to her two clinical posts, she teaches ophthalmology residents and provides continuing education lectures to optometrists. When Barnett makes a point to discuss eyelid hygiene with her patients, many of them report back an improvement in visual functioning and a decrease in their discomfort. In her lectures, Barnett encourages doctors to stop overlooking eyelid hygiene, regardless of the condition, to recognize the bigger picture encompassing dry eye, the tear film, and the ocular surface.