Dry Eye Society
In recent years, the number of patients suffering from dry eye has rapidly increased. An increase in VDT office work is considered to be a major underlying cause.
With the recent dissemination of personal computers and the internet, the time continuously watching monitors has rapidly increased. More recently, the time to use visual displays, such as smartphones and tablets, has further increased, and particularly in urban areas the number of patients complaining of asthenopia has concurrently tended to increase.
When the Society was inaugurated, the number of patients with dry eye was estimated to be eight million in Japan, but the survey by Associate Professor Norihiko Yokoi (Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine) et al. in urban areas in 2003 reported that the number of patients with dry eye was 22 million in Japan.
Dry eye was classically conceptualized as “a decrease in the amount of tear production.” However, with advances in research into its pathological conditions, new pathological conditions, such as a decrease in the stability of tears, changes in tear components and inflammation, have been observed in addition to a decrease in the amount of tear production. At present, our society defines “dry eye as a chronic disease of tear fluid and the keratoconjunctival epithelium due to various causes, accompanied by eye discomfort and visual dysfunction.”
The word “dry eye” has become widely recognized by society. However, it is not recognized that dry eye may be a cause of symptoms associated with reduced visual acuity, e.g., “a vague feeling that visual acuity decreased recently” and “becoming a little hard to see.” Recently, a “practical visual acuity test” was newly developed, making it possible to diagnose reduced visual acuity due to dry eye. More than ever, we feel the necessity to transmit the correct understanding of dry eye to society.
Recent advances in dry eye research have also led to the appearance of new test methods and drugs, making it possible to more reliably diagnose and to correctly treat dry eye.
In particular, the concept of tear film oriented therapy (TFOT) was born, and diagnosis and treatment focusing on each of the major tear elements, mucin, lipid and tear fluid, are becoming possible. Thereby, approaches to more finely protect the health of the eye surface are being realized.
The eye is a brain interface and an information entrance, the frontline of which is protected by tears. The protection of the eye through the protection of the good condition of tears and associated mechanisms leads to the health and comfort of the brain and whole body.
In the future, we will continue to actively engage in periodic lecture courses for health care workers, information exchange, promotion of research, and information provision to society.