Drugmakers like Allergan have focused on promoting awareness of dry eye disease among the public with their direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads, however they’re now setting their sights on educating optometrists and ophthalmologists on the common ocular condition. A member of the Irish pharmaceutical company’s marketing team for its dry eye disease treatment, Restasis, has joined the advisory board for DryEyeAccess.com, an educational platform aimed at helping eye care professionals diagnose and treat their patients with dry eye disease.
Allergan isn’t the only pharmaceutical company with a presence on the subscription-based website’s advisory panel; a sales and marketing representative for Johnson & Johnson Vision and a product scientist from nutritional supplements maker ScienceBased Health are also members of the DryEyeAccess.com board of advisors.
Clinicians at Bowden Eye & Associates in Jacksonville, Florida started DryEyeAccess.com as an offshoot of their in-person dry eye disease training course, Dry Eye University. Since starting their program in 2014, Bowden Eye & Associates staff have trained eye care professionals from over 1,000 eye care practices on the fundamentals of dry eye disease.
While the eye care practice will still hold another session of Dry Eye University in St. Augustine, Florida in February of 2019, they hope to use to same educational program to train optometrists and ophthalmologists from around the world on dry eye disease management on their new online platform.
“Dry eye disease is multifactorial and demands the right protocols, products, and people in your practice to be successful,” said Patti Barkey, a founder of DryEyeAccess.com, Chief Executive Officer of Bowden Eye & Associates. “DryEyeAccess.com will help members create a path forward that works for the practice and helps eye care patients who are suffering with this chronic, progressive condition.”
Over 33 million individuals in the US are believed to suffer from dry eye disease, a condition characterized by itchy, watery eyes. While some have questioned the effectiveness of drugs like Restasis – and whether dry eye disease can really be considered to be a disease at all – there’s no denying the billions in sales Allergan’s eye care business brings in each year. What’s more, the founders of DryEyeAccess.com claim that “7 out of 10 patients sitting in an eye care waiting room could benefit from dry eye disease management,” making the potential market for dry eye disease drugs even larger.
“The merger of eye care providers, administrators, and industry to help guide this initiative is unique and exciting and should help to ensure that DryEyeAccess.com meets the needs of all those connected to dry eye, especially patients,” said Dr. Richard Adler, one of the first ophthalmologists to align with DryEyeAccess.com.