This pharmacy technician’s guide helps the pharmacy team to support patients who are experiencing symptoms of dry eye disease. Community pharmacies are often the first port of call for people with mild complaints, so pharmacy technicians are well placed to recommend appropriate lifestyle interventions and products from the wide range available in the pharmacy, and refer them if necessary.
Although some patients may experience some symptoms of dry eye only occasionally, dry eye disease is a chronic condition, so it is important for patients to understand the implications.
People who wear contact lenses are at risk of dry eyes. Pharmacists should give specific advice to contact lens wearers when recommending over-the-counter products because some cannot be used with lenses.
In order to get the most from eye treatments, it is important to apply them effectively and store them correctly.
Pharmacists should advise patients to maintain good lid hygiene to manage blepharitis. Antibiotic drops or ointments, or low-dose antibiotic courses should be considered if hygiene changes are ineffective.
Many over-the-counter products for dry eye disease contain preservatives. These can help make products last longer once opened and mean products can be available in multi-dose packaging.
Specialist intervention may be required for patients who have severe dry eye disease, or if the condition does not respond to artificial tears or other treatment.
Over-the-counter treatments for dry eye disease are available in several different formulations including drops, gels, creams, ointments and sprays. Some of these formulations are known as ‘artificial tears’.
If a patient enters the pharmacy with eye symptoms, there are several questions pharmacy staff can ask to help find out whether their symptoms may be related to dry eye disease.