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We all realize that vision starts with our tear film.

It is the first refractive surface that is involved with the eventual focus of light on to the retina. Interest in the impact of the ocular surface on vision and comfort has greatly increased over the past number of years. Initially, we concentrated our concerns upon ocular comfort but we have become far more aware of visual impact that an unstable tear film can have. Optometry has actually taken “ownership” of ocular surface disease and dry eye management. This could not be more apparent when we consider the fact that about 60% of prescriptions written for the relatively new dry eye drug Xiidra is written by optometrists! The numbers written for Restasis are also quite impressive. My discussions with industry folks in this space at national meetings and advisory board meetings all confirm the fact that optometry is the leading profession when it comes to addressing ocular surface disease and dry eye. However, don’t get too comfortable, ophthalmology is catching on! At recent OMD meetings reports are coming out that they need to jump into this huge portion of the eye care industry. Optometry needs to keep its leading position. This can be achieved by staying on top of research and developments in technologies that relate to dry eye and ocular surface disease.

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S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO
Associate Editor, Cornea & Anterior Segment for Dr. Eiden is president and medical director of North Suburban Vision Consultants, Ltd., a multi-specialty group practice with 2 locations in the Chicago area. He is president and founder of the International Keratoconus Academy of Eye Care Professionals, an organization providing education and research to the eye care professions. Dr. Eiden is also co-founder and president of EyeVis Eye and Vision Research Institute, which is dedicated to clinical research and development of technologies in the eye care field. Dr. Eiden is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center in the Department of Ophthalmology, Cornea and Contact Lens Service and an adjunct faculty member of the Indiana, Illinois, Salus, SUNY and UMSL Colleges of Optometry. He is on the editorial board of numerous professional journals and frequently publishes in the professional literature. Dr.Eiden is Past Chair of the American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens and Cornea Section. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Eiden is a research consultant for numerous contact lens, technology and pharmaceutical companies and lectures extensively both nationally and internationally.


  1. Great article, Dr Eiden! It was an honor for me to be at ICO with you! I agree with your sage thoughts indeed. There’s a DryEye Sandstorm (somehow tsunami seemed the wrong image 😉 on the horizon and the more confident we are collectively in addressing this quality of vision and quality of life impacting Disease the better service we will be to our dear patients. (Enhanced job satisfaction is a nice bonus too ;).

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