View from the BCLA: Resources needed to manage dry eye disease
We have recently all been turning our clocks back, signalling the start of the British winter. The nights draw in and we all have to drive home in the dark but it is just an hour. In the grand scheme of things, not much changes.
Turn the clocks back 10 years though and the world would be a very different place.
In optometry, dry eye disease (DED) was barely acknowledged a decade ago. It has seen a huge rise in prominence across the world ever since, with clinical care for those affected now provided by professionals from a multi-disciplinary background including pharmacists, GPs, optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists.
Awareness has never been greater, and the advent of the new TFOS DEWSII definition and classification, published in July, gives guidance on how to help individuals affected by DED.
Understanding the pathophysiology of the disease provides us with an evidence-based definition and contemporary classification.
The diagnostic and management guidelines of DEWS II indicate specialist ophthalmic equipment is required to diagnose and manage DED yet hospitals do not have the capacity and primary care is not funded to provide this service.
There are also considerable differences in the UK for referral and management pathways.
It is imperative the profession works together to optimise patient quality of life. We are delighted to be hosting a debate at our forthcoming Visionaries event, chaired by Professor Tefi James, on managing DED within the community.
We fundamentally hope this will be the starting point for a new, joined-up way of dealing with a growing problem. As more people become aware of DED we have to be best-placed to deal with it.