Vision Community Recognizes July as DRY EYE AWARENESS MONTH, Hosting Virtual Congressional Briefing about Dry Eye Disease
(Washington, D.C.) The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) and the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) are excited to announce our seventh annual Dry Eye Awareness Month Congressional Briefing this summer. Entitled “Researching the Impact of Lifestyle on Ocular Surface Disease", the briefing will be held on Wednesday, July 13th at noon ET. To register for the briefing, click here.
July has been recognized as Dry Eye Awareness Month since 2017 when the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society’s landmark Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II™) Report was published in The Ocular Surface journal. As part of Dry Eye Awareness Month, the vision community has organized events to increase awareness about the growing global impact of dry eye disease. As part of these events, the vision community is raising awareness with policymakers about dry eye, and the need to address this growing condition through research to improve patient outcomes.
As one of the most frequent causes of patient visits to eye care providers, dry eye disease needs to remain a priority. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), particularly through the National Eye Institute (NEI), funds research into the causes and potential treatments of dry eye disease and continues to support research into innovative treatments and therapies that can support patients who experience this condition.
The Briefing features a panel of experts who will speak to the risk factors for, and ocular pain of dry eye disease, as well as why research is vital to develop innovative treatments for dry eye disease.
Dry eye disease remains a global epidemic affecting more than 40 million people in the United States alone. It occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. For some people, it feels like a speck of sand in the eye or a stinging or burning sensation that does not go away. For others, dry eye can become a painful chronic, and progressive condition that leads to blurred vision or even vision loss if it goes untreated due to inflammation that can cause ulcers or scars on the cornea—the clear surface of the eye. Moderate-to-severe dry eye is associated with significant quality-of-life consequences such as pain, role limitations, low vitality, poor general health, and depression. Although dry eye disease has no cure, its signs and symptoms can be managed. A lifestyle change, if warranted, may also help in this effort to a great degree.
Although researchers have long known about age, sex, and gender as factors, they are now discovering ethnic and racial differences, and that dry eye impacts younger patients. It can have many causes, including environmental exposure; poor nutrition; side-effects from medications or eye surgery; lid disorders; immune system diseases such as Sjögren Syndrome, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis; contact lens wear; cosmetic use; aesthetic procedures; and an increasingly common cause—staring at computer or smartphone screens for too long.
The vision community members recognizing July 2022 as Dry Eye Awareness Month and engaging in awareness and educational activities include:
Alliance for Eye and Vision Research
AEVR and TFOS thank the sponsors and supporters that are helping to bring this Congressional Briefing to fruition, including: Alcon, Allergan, Genentech, Association for Research and Vision for Ophthalmology, Johnson and Johnson Vision, Novartis, and Research to Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1993, the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to education about the importance of federal funding for eye and vision research through its Research Saving Sight, Restoring Vision Initiative. Visit AEVR’s Web site at www.eyeresearch.org
Founded in 2000, the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society is a world leader in eye health education headquartered in Boston. A 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, TFOS is dedicated to advancing the research, literacy, and educational aspects of the scientific field of the eye’s surface. More information about the TFOS DEWS II™ Report is available at www.tearfilm.org