Dry Eye Device
Dry eye syndrome (DES) also called Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or keratitis sicca, is an eye disease caused by eye dryness, which, in turn, is caused by either decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation. It is found in humans and some animals. KCS is the most common eye disease, affecting 5 – 6% of the population. Prevalence rises to 6 – 9.8% in postmenopausal women, and as high as 34% in the elderly. The phrase “keratoconjunctivitis sicca” is Latin, and its translation is “dry [inflammation] of the cornea and conjunctiva”.
Serious dry eye can be quite debilitating and current therapies like eye drops and cyclosporine are either difficult to manage or don’t really fix the problem. Eye drops require refrigeration, so keeping them cold and handy is a challenge. Cyclosporine, on the other hand, only treats the inflammation and has a low rate of patient compliance. A company calledOculeve, which came out of the Stanford Biodesign program, has developed a tiny implant that may help a lot of people suffering from dry eye caused by a variety of underlying conditions.
The device electrically stimulates the lacrimal gland, the organ responsible for tear production. There’s two versions of the device, one that is placed within the nasal cavity and the other is implanted under the skin above the eyelids. The device, which can be controlled using a wireless interface, has already been in clinical trials in Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico toward getting European and Canadian approvals, and trials aimed at the FDA are already being planned.