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Dry Eye Advances from NovaBay and Johnson & Johnson Vision's TearScience

CEOCFO Magazine Reports on a Recent Roundtable of Top Eye Doctors, Who Highlighted Remarkable Advances in the Treatment of Dry Eye

SAN DIEGO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 26, 2017 / CEOCFO Magazine, an independent investment publication that highlights important technologies and companies, today reports on Innovations in Managing Dry Eye, a special roundtable held during the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. The roundtable panel of top eye doctors identified several key advances: LipiScan and LipiFlow from TearScience (now a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)) and Avenova from NovaBay Pharmaceuticals (NYSE American: NBY).

These new products offer major leaps forward in the treatment of patients with Dry Eye, said roundtable moderator Richard L. Lindstrom, MD, founder and attending surgeon at Minnesota Eye Consultants. "It's much more fun to care for these patients in my practice now, because I know I really can make a difference in their daily lives," he said.

That's especially crucial, because the incidence of the often painful and sometimes debilitating condition known as Dry Eye is increasing. Virtually everyone over the age of 75 has Dry Eye, causing them to experience irritated, gritty, scratchy or burning eyes, and blurred or impaired vision, said Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD, founding partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island and Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut. And the number of younger people who suffer from these symptoms is growing rapidly, thanks to all the time they spend staring at digital screens, said Arthur B. Epstein, OD, founding partner of Phoenix Eye Care in Phoenix. "Dry Eye and ocular surface disease are literally epidemic," he said.

As the panel described, Dry Eye is typically the result of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The meibomian glands produce a crucial oil, called meibum, that stabilizes the tear film on the eye. That tear film is needed to keep the tears from evaporating. Those glands, however, can be blocked, preventing the oil (known as a lipid) from reaching the tear film. Moreover, large populations of Staphylococcus bacteria growing on the eyelids contribute to the blockage, while also producing lipase, an enzyme that breaks down the vital oil.

There's a triple whammy, explained Dr. Epstein. "First, the patient is meibum deficient because his glands are obstructed. Second, he has overpopulation of Staph, which produces lipase, breaks down the tear lipids, and produces soaps. Third, the soaps break down the tear lipids further and destabilize the entire tear film."

In the past, eye doctors didn't begin to treat Dry Eye until patients came in already suffering from the condition. Now, however, they can diagnose Dry Eye much earlier, thanks to a device from TearScience called LipiScan that doctors can use to spot any blockages of the meibomian glands.

"The routine use of LipiScan has been a fundamental change in our practice," said Steven J. Ferguson, OD, founder of Dunes Eye Consultants and Dunes Lasik Center, Dakota Dunes, SD. "We now automatically scan every patient, looking for gland atrophy and structural changes to the meibomian glands, rather than waiting for patients to report symptoms."

Then, once doctors see a problem, they have new tools to treat it. One of those key advances is LipiFlow from TearScience, a device that safely warms and pulses the eye to remove meibomian gland blockages. "I love hot compresses, and LipiFlow is like a hot compress on steroids," said Dr. Donnenfeld. "It has great efficacy that is long-lasting."

Equally important, doctors now can fight the bacteria on the eyelids with Avenova from NovaBay. As Elizabeth Yeu, MD, partner and corneal, refractive, and cataract surgeon at Virginia Eye Consultants in Norfolk, explained, Avenova is the only lid hygiene product to contain a pure solution of hypochlorous acid. As a result, it can safely remove bacteria, while also breaking up both the biofilms that block the meibomian glands and the lipase enzyme that attacks the crucial oil in the tear film.

"To me, reducing bacterial overpopulation of the lids with Avenova (NovaBay) is one of the key elements in managing Dry Eye," said Dr. Epstein. "I love to demonstrate it to patients in the office because it feels great. I don't think you can apply it too often, because there's no possibility of toxicity."

These new treatments have made it possible to actually prevent these painful eye conditions from developing in the first place-and to intervene early before symptoms get severe, said John D. Sheppard, MD, MMSc, president of Virginia Eye Consultants in Norfolk.

The doctors agreed that these innovations have made an enormous difference in the care they can offer to their patients. "That's been a remarkable change the last 3 years in our practice with improved treatment outcomes utilizing therapies such as LipiFlow for MGD dry eye and Avenova for chronic lid care management," said Dr. Ferguson.

Highlights from the roundtable were published by Ophthalmology Management.


Bud Wayne
Editorial Executive
CEOCFO Magazine