The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and Alcon have named three global experts as lead faculty for their new dry eye disease education initiative for eyecare professionals
The worldwide evidence-based program is designed to raise optometrists’ understanding of dry eye etiology and prevalence, diagnosis, and practical management.
Professors Jennifer Craig, Lyndon Jones, and James Wolffsohn will distill the growing amount of research and clinical evidence into accessible educational content.
Their first online event, titled ‘Dry Eye Disease Mitigation’, will take place on 8 November and will focus on understanding the prevalence and etiology of dry eye, associated risk factors, and how to triage patients presenting with symptoms.
‘Dry Eye Disease Mitigation’ will be available in three separate time zones (5pm – Hong Kong/Singapore, 6pm – Central Europe, 6pm – Pacific Standard Time/Los Angeles) and includes an interactive live chat with Craig, Jones, and Wolffsohn.
Registration is now open at https://bit.ly/DryEyeMitigation
Craig, who heads the Ocular Surface Laboratory in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), said dry eye disease is a widespread problem that in many cases can be easily managed.
“It does not require a great deal of infrastructure and only modest specialised education. This online event series is aimed at delivering practical information that optometrists can use right away. We need to not only more actively identify patients with dry eye but also point them in the right direction. By doing that, we can improve their quality of life,” she said.
Craig’s research focus is the ocular surface, primarily dry eye disease and tear film dysfunction. She regularly delivers continuing education and research lectures and publishes widely in scientific and clinical press. She has contributed to the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society’s (TFOS) International Workshops on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Contact Lens Discomfort and served as vice chair for TFOS Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) II.
“Chronic dry eye disease that adversely impacts daily life remains one of the most commonly reported problems in eyecare practice globally. It’s an honour to be involved in this valuable collaboration between WCO and Alcon, which offers an exciting opportunity to raise awareness of this impactful disease and, using the best available scientific evidence, to support practitioners in any clinical setting across the world to deliver optimal care for patients with dry eye,” Craig said.
Jones is the director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo (Canada).
His research interests focus on the interaction of novel and existing contact lens materials with the ocular environment, dry eye, and the development of novel materials for ocular drug delivery.
Dry eye disease is a global issue that continues to grow in terms of the numbers of people it affects and the impact it has on sufferers, Jones said.
“Data shows quite clearly the impact it has on eye health, ocular comfort, depression, and economic burden. I am delighted that the WCO has partnered with Alcon to make people more aware of the fact that dry eye disease is more than just an annoyance; it has a real impact that needs to be addressed. I am extremely excited to be part of the team raising awareness of this issue,” he said.
Wolffsohn, head of the School of Optometry and Department of Audiology at Aston University (United Kingdom), said a substantial proportion of patients have dry eye disease, impacting their quality of life.
His main research areas are the development and evaluation of ophthalmic instrumentation, myopia management, contact lenses, intraocular lenses, and tear film.
“As eyecare practitioners, we need to be unified in our differential diagnosis and evidence-based in our management of this chronic disease. The partnership between the WCO and Alcon offers great potential to raise the profile of dry eye disease and to improve the quality of eyecare provided to patients worldwide,” Wolffsohn said.