Plenty of Water in the Dry Eye Research Well
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
It has been our tradition since 2009 to dedicate the entire July issue of Contact Lens Spectrum to dry eye and ocular surface disease. Since that time, we have seen many significant milestones achieved. For instance, there have been tremendous advances in point-of-care technologies that can be used in the diagnosis of various aspects of the condition. Likewise, we have seen new treatments emerge that help us better manage this disease. The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) has completed two global workshops that have addressed Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (www.tearfilm.org/mgdworkshop) and Contact Lens Discomfort (www.tearfilm.org/tfoscldreport-english/tfos-cld-report-index.htm). Amazing strides have been made in this field, and two significant events occurring in 2016 are worthy of highlight.
First, TFOS is on the verge of completing its International Dry Eye WorkShop II (DEWS II)—an updated version of its first DEWS completed in 2007 (www.tearfilm.org/tfos_dews_report.php). As noted above, these workshops are tremendous efforts and involve significant numbers of dry eye experts from around the world.
Second, in 2003, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first prescription medication for the treatment of dry eye disease, and this compound has helped many patients who have suffered from dry eye since that time. Yet, although several pharmaceutical companies have tried to gain approval for other medications, we have not seen another one approved since that time. Fast-forward to July 2016. We are anxiously awaiting news from the FDA regarding approval of a second pharmaceutical that can be used to treat the signs and symptoms of dry eye. This is a significant milestone for the field of dry eye, and we all look forward to the possibility of having another prescription medication that we can add to our arsenal in managing dry eye disease.
As noted above, these are exciting times in advancing our management and care of dry eye patients. In addition to this, we are excited to see new and novel research emerging that is helping us understand the etiology of this multifactorial disease. We all have much to be excited about, and we hope that you enjoy this 2016 Annual Dry Eye issue of Contact Lens Spectrum.