The Challenges of Managing Dry Eye
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
Dry eye disease seems at times like an impossible problem for us clinically. Why is it such a difficult condition to manage and treat? The reasons are many. I think it is important to first consider the challenge that the disease itself is multifactorial in nature. Is the etiology evaporative or tear deficient? Biological or environmental? Or all of the above? Treating a condition that has so many potential root causes would certainly be a challenge for anyone.
Next, if you think about it, we don’t have good clinical tests that correspond well with what patients tell us. This makes the diagnosis challenging. Therefore, many practitioners often simply rely on patient symptoms with minimal testing. Fortunately, we are seeing much activity in this area, particularly with potential point-of-care diagnostics.
Finally, dry eye is such a challenge because we have very few options that actually treat (let alone prevent) the disease. Again, we are seeing activity in this area, but we need better treatments than our current standards.
All in all, there is an immense opportunity clinically for us to help patients who suffer from dry eye disease. The industry has come a long way with diagnostics and treatments, but we need even more than what we have now. Let’s hope the opportunity is one that is fulfilled for the sake of our patients.