AEVR and the Women’s Eye Health Task Force Present a Congressional Briefing on Chronic Dry Eye

February 3, 2006
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
[email protected]

AEVR and The Women’s Eye Health Task Force Present A Congressional Briefing on Chronic Dry Eye

(Washington, DC) Today the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) and the Women’s Eye Health Task Force announced a Congressional Briefing entitled Chronic Dry Eye , to be held on Wednesday, February 15, 2006, from 12 Noon – 1:15 pm in Room B-339 of the House Rayburn Office Building. Briefing speakers Dr. Janine Smith (National Eye Institute, NEI) and Kelly Nichols (Ohio State University College of Optometry) will report on NEI’s efforts to characterize the extent and causes of chronic dry eye, as well as research into the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Chronic dry, also known as Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), is characterized by eye discomfort due to insufficient tear quantity or quality caused by low tear production and/or excessive tear evaporation. Its symptoms such as irritation, itching, burning, light sensitivity and grittiness can be debilitating, as DES affects the health of the eye’s surface and can lead to visual impairment, as well as increased risk of infection.

NEI-sponsored epidemiological studies report that DES is a growing public health problem, as 12 million Americans currently have moderate to severe DES. Since 15 percent of people over 65 years of age experience DES, it is an aging as well as a woman’s health care issue. Additionally, NEI reports that 25 percent of contact lens wearers report at least one DES symptom occasionally.

In announcing the briefing, AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky stated that, “With the aging of the population, there will be a greater prevalence of dry eye, especially in women, which will have a significant impact on visual function and associated increased healthcare costs. DES also has an enormous impact on quality of life, as patients often make changes to their daily lives to manage their symptoms.”

Janine Smith, M.D., is the Deputy Clinical Director within the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the National Eye Institute. Kelly Nichols, O.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University College of Optometry

The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) is a nonprofit organization of stakeholders in the vision research community, including ophthalmic and optometric professionals, manufacturers and consumers, which is dedicated to educating Congress and the public about the economic and societal value of federally funded eye and vision research. Visit AEVR’s Web site at

The Women’s Eye Health Task Force’s mission is to widely publicize blindness prevention information, build broad concern for eye diseases that are more prevalent in women and to teach women to protect their eye health and that of their families. Visit the WEHTF Web site at