Management of dry eye in UK pharmacies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - To investigate the ability of pharmacy staff in the United Kingdom (UK) to diagnose and treat dry eye.
Methods - A mystery shopper technique to simulate a patient with presumed dry eye was used in 50 pharmacy practices in major towns and cities across the UK. Pharmacies were unaware of their involvement in the study. With the exception of a predetermined opening statement to initiate the consultation, no further information was volunteered. Questions asked, diagnoses given, management strategy advised and staff type was recorded immediately after the consultation.
Results - The mean number of questions was 4.5 (SD 1.7; range 1–10). The most common question was the duration of symptoms (56%) and the least common was whether the patient had a history of headaches (2%). All pharmacy staff gave a diagnosis, but the majority were incorrect (58%), with only 42% correctly identifying dry eye. Treatment was advised by 92% of pharmacy staff, with the remaining 8% advising referral directly to the patient's GP or optometrist. Dry eye treatments involved topical ocular lubrication via eye drops (90%) and lipid based sprays (10%). However, only 10% gave administration advice, 10% gave dosage advice, 9% asked about contact lens wear, and none offered follow up although 15% also advised GP or optometrist referral.
Conclusions - There is a need for improved ophthalmological training amongst pharmacists and pharmacy staff and establishment of cross referral relationships between pharmacies and optometry practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-387
Number of pages6
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • diagnosis
  • dry eye
  • management
  • mystery shopper
  • pharmacy


Dive into the research topics of 'Management of dry eye in UK pharmacies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this