How big of an unmet need is dry eye?

Dr. McDonald discusses dry eye prevalence and treatment

Marguerite B. McDonald MD is a Bruder advisory board member and highly respected member of the Ophthalmic community. In September of 2017 Dr. McDonald wrote a compelling article for Ophthalmology Management about the prevalence of dry eye disease and best practices for becoming a dry eye treatment center. According to DEWS II, anywhere from 5% to 50% of the population is affected. Market Scope reports that dry-eye related product sales are expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2020. “If every ophthalmologist and optometrist in North America opened a dry eye center, we would still be underserving the population,” said Dr. McDonald.

Becoming a Dry Eye Treatment Center

Starting such a center requires not just the right tests and tools, but also careful consideration and implementation on handling both staff and patients. Dry eye patients often have multiple other diagnoses you can treat: 60% have seasonal allergies, 14% have cataracts, 48% have myopia, 4% have AMD, 3% have glaucoma and 17% have undiagnosed failing eyesight. These patients often see other doctors who don’t help them — if your practice does, the satisfied patients will often bring other family to your clinic. Controlling dry eye can also result in better clinical outcomes. Numerous peer-reviewed papers indicate the treatment of dry eye before LASIK and cataract surgery improves results.

Digital Eye Strain Increasing Dry Eye Prevalence

Teens and 20-somethings are rapidly joining the ranks of the traditionally older dry-eyed because they spend far too much time staring at their digital devices. Blink rate plunges from 20 per minute to three to five times per minute while looking at a digital screen. Statistics on The Vision Council’s website state that 60.5% of American reported symptoms of digital eye strain. The challenge of digitally induced dry eye is not a problem soon to vanish, given our dependence on computers.

Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress Offers An Affordable Treatment Option

Patients who are considering out-of-pocket treatment options like LipiFlow (TearScience), BlephEx (Rysurg), Oust Demodex Swabstix professional lid cleaning (OCuSOFT), EyeExpress (Holbar Medical Products) treatments, should be made aware that these options can cost $150 to $975. By offering patients the Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress, which for less than $30, they can begin effectively treating dry eye symptoms immediately and can determine if they would like to add one of the other treatments at a later time. The Bruder mask can be used in conjunction with these other methods to increase efficacy. With the introduction of the Bruder Hygienic Eyelid sheets, patients can now add lid hygiene  to their treatment regimen to decrease the spread of bacteria, keep their warm eye compress clean, and increase the positive effects of moist heat therapy.

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