More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from dry eye disease, and the occurrence is not ceasing, according to Ophthalmology Management. The pharmaceutical market for dry eye has seen year-over-year growth of more than six percent with estimated dry eye pharma sales growing to $1.6 billion based on global estimates. Ophthalmology practices considering adding more value to the practice should look to selling dry eye products, according to OM.
For almost 25 years, an assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology in the Department of Ophthalmology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has sold different products and medications to his patients at his practice. Gregg J. Berdy, MD, FACS, of Ophthalmology Associates currently sells dry eye products, such as supplements, eye masks and tears. Berdy said he increase the convenience for patients to buy products while also receiving a financial boost in the extra sales, according to OM.
Another doctor in Minnesota also stated the convenience patients have when they have everything available in one place. “The major reason we sell these was the overall confusion that our patients encountered in the marketplace trying to find products that met their needs,” said David R. Hardten, MD, of Minnesota Eye Consultants. His practice sells vitamins and hydrating and warming masks through its website.
However, there are challenges that arise from selling products in any practice. Knowledgeable staff and inventory management are examples of the challenges practices can face. These challenges can be resolved if the ophthalmologist is dedicated to her or his patients and fixing their dry eye problems. Rebecca Petris, owner of The Dry Eye Company, said, “Dry eye is a symptom disease, and managing day-to-day symptoms in moderate to severe cases is often extremely challenging for patients. Doctors who get this are more likely to understand the role of consumer devices.”