How Far We’ve Come in the Dry Eye Field
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
We started the tradition of dedicating the July issue of Contact Lens Spectrum to the theme of dry eye in 2009, and it is remarkable to see how the field has changed in even this relatively short period of time. Let’s take a look at some of the milestones achieved during this period.
It probably goes without saying, but two incredibly important milestones were the completion of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society’s (TFOS) International Workshops on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (2011) and Contact Lens Discomfort (2013). These global, consensus-building workshops have really helped define the current state of these conditions, and they provide a blueprint for future clinical practice and research. Although it has just started, we look forward to seeing the TFOS International Dry Eye Workshop II (DEWS II) proceed over the next two years.
Another “milestone” that I believe we have achieved over the last five or more years is forward movement in both diagnostic methodologies and therapeutic treatments for ocular surface disease. We have seen novel technologies come to the market, and we have a very deep pipeline that includes many promising pharmaceutical compounds. Likewise, a trend has emerged in which practices are implementing “dry eye clinics” that incorporate the aforementioned tools to manage ocular surface disease and that have a defined patient target and business plan.
So, what will the next five to 10 years bring in the dry eye field? I think one thing that we can confidently say is that we will have more knowledge about the etiologies of ocular surface disease. This, in turn, will offer new insight into how to prevent dry eye disease as well as the promise of exciting new treatments.