Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dry eyes, corner to corner

I thought I was already well aware of the role of climate in dry eye, but I have to admit I gained a powerful new appreciation for it on a recent long drive I took. Long as in days, not hours. I drove from Florida to Washington state, where we had decided to move in order to be closer to our extended family.

We sprinted through northern Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, I think a little bit of Iowa if I remember right, southern Illinois, and Missouri - all during that awful 100+ degree heatwave so we had no motivation to do any sightseeing along the way. We finally slowed down in Nebraska, stopped to visit a friend, took a detour up a back road through the sand hills (stunningly beautiful, though we didn't get as far as we wanted due to some wildfires), took a scenic loop through the Badlands of South Dakota, and introduced my 3-year-old to Mount 'Mushmore' and the largest collection of reptiles in the world at the Reptile Gardens nearby. Running short on time, we then got back on the interstate and sped across Wyoming, Montana, the Idaho panhandle and eastern Washington.

I think it was in Tennessee that I broke my Wiley-X wraparound sunglasses. They have always been my favorites for driving - wraparound style and light foam pads give some protection from the air conditioning but with good quality vision - and I hadn't brought any spares, so I drove the rest of the trip with a $10 pair of sunglasses that didn't do a thing. That was a great test of my new sclerals - more on that shortly.

When we stopped in Nebraska, though, I could hardly stand to get out of the car. Between the heat and the wind it was awful. I just can't imagine living there with dry eye - of course not all days are that bad but outdoors activities would be a thing of the past.

On the other hand, since arriving in the Pacific Northwest, what a difference! I don't think my eyes have been this comfortable outside in an awfully long time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Newsclips (July-August)

Dry Eye in the News

7 August: Health tip: If your eyes are dry

Forbes. Three brief paragraphs of common sense. But we like that they mentioned cold and allergy medications as a dry eye culprit!

7 August: Ask DrH... Long use of drops safe for dry eyes?

Philadelphia Inquirer. Patient asks about long-term safety of Restasis. Answer buried in the 6 paragraphs of educational blah blah is that it 'appears safe for long-term use'.

2 August: How to relieve dry eye syndrome naturally

Emax Health: This is actually a really nice basic educational piece about dry eye causes that includes a solid list of non-drug practical steps for managing chronic dry eye. Thumbs up.

25 July: Dry eye dangers are often missed

USA Today. Humph. I wonder if the journalist was aware that dry eye is the #1 side effect of LASIK when they went and got a quote from a prominent laser surgeon. And the NWHRC gets their little plug in for Restasis... again. Pass.

25 July: Symptoms, causes, treatments for dry eye

The Arizona Republic: "Here's information to help you prevent, identify and treat the problem of dry eye...." Thoroughly respectable article.

23 July: Menopause can cause dry eye syndrome

10 News: "...Dry eye syndrome is a common condition endured by menopausal and peri-menopausal women...." Decent read.

20 July: Can-Fite Initiated Phase IIb Clinical Trials in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients... blah blah "the Company will shortly begin evaluating the efficacy of this drug in the treatment of dry eye syndrome..." I love the word "shortly". Fine, keep saying it, but we sure hope you actually DO it soon.

19 July: International Group Targets Sjögrens Syndrome

UCSF Today: The Sjögren's International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA) met in DC recently.... This is a group of clinical and laboratory investigators focusing on the development of the International Sjögren's Syndrome Registry. Don't know much about this organization but it's good to have one out there promoting research on prevention & treatments.

17 July: Alimera Sciences Announces Agreement with CYNACON / OCuSOFT(R), to Co-Promote OCuSOFT(R) Lid Scrub Eyelid Cleanser

PRNewsWire: Whole story in the title. This is probably a good thing as it will increase awareness of the importance of lid hygiene. Presumably prompted in part by the launch of TheraTears Sterilid product.

12 July: Sinclair Pharma: Opthalmology Product Gets Regulatory OK

Sinclair press release page: New product released in the UK as a medical device class I (sterile). From the limited information in the press release it is not clear whether this really presents some truly new or improved kind of mechanism or is basically a souped up artificial tear marketed as a prescription drug. Waiting on more info from Sinclair about active ingredients and preservatives.

1 July: New study puts the focus on dry eye

The Salt Lake Tribune: Bragging about being the seventh worst city for dry eye. Good article overall.