Dry Eye – Largest Patient Segment within Eye Care Practices
38% of patients visiting their eye care professional suffer from Dry Eye. They spend $3.8 billion per year in the U.S. on symptom relief. There are an estimated 23 million sufferers over the age of 20 in the U.S. alone.
Those with moderate to severe dry eye are experiencing great discomfort and are desperately seeking a new approach from traditional therapies, which only provide limited symptomatic relief. Eye care physicians are equally frustrated with the limited tools available to properly diagnose and treat dry eye.
Economic Burden of Dry Eye in the U.S.
In the U.S. alone, the economic burden of dry eye totals $3.84 billion in direct annual health care costs. When including the indirect costs of lost productivity, the societal burden of dry eye rises to $55.4 billion annually in the U.S.
For patients, the average annual direct cost ranges from $678 for patients with mild dry eye to $1,267 for severe cases. If pharmaceuticals and punctual plugs are included, the cost rises for these patients to $2,959 annually.
For employers, dry eye boils down to lost productivity. Studies show that mild and moderate dry eye sufferers incurred a productivity loss of more than $12,000 annually. For severe dry eye patients, productivity loss is estimated at $18,000 annually.
Two Types of Dry Eye
The two predominant forms of dry eye are aqueous deficient and lipid deficient. Aqueous deficient dry eye occurs when the lacrimal glands do not generate enough aqueous (water) to keep the eyes sufficiently moist. Lipid deficient dry eye, also known as evaporative dry eye, occurs when the aqueous evaporates at a faster rate than normal due to an inadequate protective lipid (oil) layer on the surface of the tear film. Evaporative dry eye is the most prevalent type affecting up to 86% of dry eye sufferers.
Industry Refocuses on Evaporative Dry Eye
Historically, the industry’s attention has focused on aqueous deficient dry eye and on relieving inflammation in the eyelids. However, new research from The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS), MGD workshop has refocused attention on evaporative dry eye, caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
The MGD workshop, involving two years of work by 50 leading experts from around the world, concluded that obstructed Meibomian glands (or MGD) is an under-estimated condition and is likely the most frequent cause of dry eye disease.
With this new understanding, physicians are now rethinking their approach to dry eye. Today, physicians need a way to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction by addressing the root cause of dry eye, rather than just treating symptoms.
Introducing TearScience’s Revolutionary System – A New Standard of Care for Managing Dry Eye
TearScience has introduced a significant advance for treating evaporative dry eye – one that addresses the root cause, obstructed Meibomian glands.
TearScience’s breakthrough system is comprised of the LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer and the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. LipiView helps physicians assess patients’ tear film by capturing detailed digital images. LipiFlow treats the primary cause of evaporative dry eye disease, using precisely controlled heat and gentle pressure applied to the eyelids to unblock obstructed Meibomian glands during a 12-minute in-office procedure. The LipiFlow treatment allows the Meibomian glands to resume their natural production of lipids needed for a healthy tear film.