The Dry Eye Zone

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Abstract: Are doctors 'following the rules' with dry eye care?

Telling us what we know and which needs to be addressed:

Dry eye care, on average, has plenty of room for improvement.

Documentation of conformance to preferred practice patterns in caring for patients with dry eye.
Arch Ophthalmol. 2010 May;128(5):619-23.
Lin IC, Gupta PK, Boehlke CS, Lee PP.
Departments of Ophthalmology, Duke University Eye Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate documentation of physician evaluations of patients with dry eye for the presence of key elements as defined in the American Academy of Ophthalmology Summary Benchmarks for Preferred Practice Patterns.

METHODS: One hundred thirty-one medical records of patients seen at the Duke Eye Center from January 1998 to July 2008 were reviewed relative to both the dry eye preferred practice patterns benchmarks for 1998 (all patients) and 2003 (for those seen between 2004 and 2008). Overall total score and subsection scores were calculated for all patients, as well as by specialty provider types and by type of medical record (electronic vs paper).

RESULTS: Of all records reviewed, 84.8% were for women and the mean (SD) age of all patients was 60.3 (20.8) years. On average, 66.4% of the initial history key elements, 77.3% of the initial physical examination key elements, 40.0% of care management key elements, and 67.9% of patient education key elements were documented. The physical examination scores were highest in the "other" subspecialty ophthalmologist group compared with the comprehensive ophthalmologist group (P = .03) and cornea specialists (P = .02). The physical examination scores were 87% in the electronic medical record and 75% in the standard paper medical record (P < .001) groups.

CONCLUSIONS: In an academic practice, the process of care delivery for dry eye does conform to the American Academy of Ophthalmology Preferred Practice Patterns in some areas; however, there is room for improvement especially in the areas of patient education and care management. Additional data are needed from other practice settings to further evaluate the quality of dry eye care.