Dry eye disease (DED), the most common ocular surface disease, causes eye discomfort
and visual dysfunction due to overlapping aberrant conditions between the tear
film and the epithelial layer that comprise the surface of the eye.
The number of patients suffering from dry eye continues to increase. For example, as age
is a risk factor, Japan’s super-aging society is experiencing a DED upsurge. Various eye
diseases and systemic disorders, as well their corresponding treatments, can also lead to
Our modern lifestyles, too, are laced with risk factors that invite dry eye. An obvious example at home and the workplace is prolonged time gazing at a computer, tablet, or smartphone screen. Other lifestyle irritants, such as air conditioners creating a dry atmosphere and contact lenses, can also lead to dry eye.
The number of dry eye patients in Japan was estimated at 8 million when the Society was established; the figure has increased to over 20 million people today.
The Osaka Study, a large-scale epidemiological survey on dry eye conducted among office workers in 2012, reported a 65% prevalence of dry eye among those surveyed, with 11.6% confirmed and 54% suspected dry eye cases. The survey also found that in confirmed cases, the respondents typically displayed prolonged use of a visual display terminal (VDT) and reported that dry eye conditions have compromised work productivity.
However, significant progress in DED research has yielded new tests and treatments, paving the way for more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Tear Film Oriented Diagnosis (TFOD) and Tear Film Oriented Therapy (TFOT) now enable DED diagnosis and treatment from the perspective of each key ocular surface component: lipids (fatty oils), aqueous fluid (water), and mucin (mucus). This allows ophthalmologists to take a more focused approach based on dry eye type.
The eyes are the gateway for a profusion of information; they operate as the interface between the world and the brain. Tears protect the eye against intrusion from myriad pathogens, delivering “infection protection.” Accordingly, keeping the eyes well lubricated is directly connected to maintaining the health of both the brain and the entire body.
The Japan Dry Eye Society continues proactive social contributions by enlightening medical professionals on the importance of DED and tears through academic conferences and workshops, promoting research, and providing forums enabling valuable information exchange.
Norihiko Yokoi, M.D., Ph.D.
Japan Dry eye Society
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