Home News & Insights Taking the next step with Intense Pulsed Light

Taking the next step with Intense Pulsed Light

OptiClear Intense Puled Light Case Study_Valarie Jerome
In February 2023 Dr Valarie Jerome, the owner of Valarie Jerome Optometrists in Newbury, started using OptiClear Intense Pulse Light (IPL), the latest pioneering technology for patients with dry eye disease (DED).

She is one of the first optometrists in the country to invest in the OptiClear IPL machine.  She plans to dedicate one day a week to Dry Eye Clinic, where she meets and assesses patients with dry eye symptoms.  She hopes to treat four patients a week with IPL.

Since February, Dr Valarie Jerome has treated five patients with dry eyes.  The success rate so far is 100%, with the majority of patients noticing less irritation and scratchiness of the eyes after the first treatment.  A total of four treatments are provided.

Approximately 30% to 33% of Dr Valarie Jerome’s patients seen in the last three months, suffer from Dry Eye. As a sufferer of DED, she is passionate about dry eye treatments, and why she invested in OptiClear IPL.

“I would recommend optometrists only invest in IPL if they are passionate about eyecare and passionate about dry eye treatments.  Many optometrists are employed by multiples where quantity is the name of the game.  IPL and dry eye care takes more time and dedication to each patient than the assembly line high street opticians offer.”

As an independent and privately-owned optometrist, Dr Valarie Jerome, who has experience both in the UK and the US, can lead the way and position herself as a ‘specialist’ in dry eye care, which is a common condition that has a significant impact on the quality of life due to its many debilitating symptoms.

Practice Investment

“I see Intense Pulsed Light as an investment in my practice and a real benefit to my patients.  It is not just a niche to add to your practice. It is a way to help people suffering from dry eyes, people who have been ignored for years, people who will be so grateful for their optometrist helping them to have eyes that feel better, look better and see better.”

The biggest challenge that Dr Valarie Jerome faces is a lack of knowledge; people do not know that this treatment exists, so they suffer in silence.  Marketing is going to be key in getting more patients having IPL.

“Following some recent PR in the local media I picked up several new clients who read the article on OptiClear IPL and its benefits to those suffering from DED.  Three of these new clients have now been assessed and are underway with treatment, which is fantastic yet highlights the importance of marketing IPL.”

Dr Valarie Jerome is confident her investment in IPL will be rewarding, both in terms of practice profitability and patient satisfaction.  Many of her new clients are patients at other opticians but are booking appointments with her as they see her as more of a specialist optometrist.

“I want to be at the forefront of the latest treatments available, offering patients cutting-edge technology and treatments, and I would encourage other optometrists to do the same and offer more procedures like Intense Pulsed Light and avoid the burnout of routine eye exams.  Optometrists deserve to expand their minds and enhance their practice to its full potential – and our patients need us to do this as well.

Optometrists can fill the gap in long delays

“I see the future of optometry a bit differently from most optometrists as I think about it on a global scale having practised in both the US and in the UK.  I think it’s time for optometrists to step up and fill in the gap left by long delays in ophthalmology.

“I think in the US optometry will move quite quickly to more dry eye awareness and treatments. Although I see it happening in the UK too, I think it will be much slower in comparison.  People are not used to ‘paying’ for healthcare generally. With free eye tests and low-cost glasses, optometrists are not the first port of call when people need help with their eyes – opticians, GPs and even pharmacies come first.”

Fellow optometrist, researcher and dry eye specialist, Dr Trusit Dave, adds: “When discussing Dry Eye, its prevalence and how wide a problem it is, is a good place to start.  For those over 60, two in five suffer from DED, and due to changing environments and increased screen time, more and more children (aged eight and nine upwards) are starting to show symptoms too.

“Dry Eye can be uncomfortable and debilitating, similar to chronic arthritis, yet it remains underdiagnosed.  More awareness of DED and highlighting its symptoms is key.  Being recommended to a specialist who can offer a full-scope service to diagnose, treat and monitor will result in more effective treatment outcomes.

Independent optometrist opportunities

“There is a real opportunity for independent optometrists to grow their practices.  In today’s changing landscape, successful optometrists identify symptoms of dry eye during standard eye examinations and then recommend a more in-depth dry eye consultation resulting in an accurate diagnosis of the type of dry eye and an individualised treatment plan. Most patients experience an improvement in symptoms and clinicians will see a reduction in ocular surface disease.  If implemented correctly, specialising in managing dry eye addresses a huge unmet need offering greater satisfaction as well as increased growth for the practice.”

Published in The Optician 16 June 2023.