Founded in 2005, TearScience technology principle is based on more than 25 years of research into the causes of dry eye by Dr. Donald Korb, the cofounder. Dr. Korb noticed that in most contact lens intolerant patients and dry eye sufferers the meibomian glands became obstructed leading to a deficiency in lipid and the lipid layer. He also noted that these patients frequently did not show notable signs of lid disease, despite being symptomatic. His early work and publications resulted in the understanding of the pathophysiology of meibomian gland obstruction, how meibomian gland dysfunction was a causative factor in dry eye, and he named the condition meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
Subsequently, he developed a broad spectrum interferometer that enabled direct, real-time viewing of the tear film. This innovation provided an important tool for MGD and dry eye research.
Concurrently, when treating patients with obstructed meibomian glands, Dr. Korb questioned why meibomian glands only rarely became cystic. He concluded that when the meibomian glands became obstructed, they down-regulated and usually ceased producing lipids and became nonfunctional. Dr. Korb found that these obstructed and non-functioning meibomian glands could frequently be rehabilitated if the obstruction could be removed, and frequently could be restored to the desired functional level. After confirming his theory, TearScience set to work developing a safe, effective, reliable, and clinically practical method of identifying, clearing, and monitoring obstructed meibomian glands, thus treating the root cause of the majority of dry eye.
Dr. Korb’s continuing research has resulted in the additional concept of a dry eye cascade, where meibomian gland dysfunction leads to a deficiency in lipid secretion, rapid evaporation of the tear film, discomfort, ocular surface compromise, and increasingly serious consequences including clarity of vision and permanent tissue changes and damage of the cornea and eyelids. This dry eye cascade can be alleviated by treating obstructed meibomian glands to resume natural function.