Debate over how best to manage dry eye disease

A multi-disciplinary discussion will take place at the BCLA’s Visionaries Conference as part of a drive to bring together the optometry profession and formulate a strategy to better manage dry eye disease. Consultant ophthalmologist and BCLA council member Professor Teifi James will chair the debate, exploring how health care professionals can best work together to optimise patient quality of life by improving the management of dry eye.

Professor James said: “I’m excited to be involved with this unique collaborative debate and look forward to a wide-ranging and informative conversation which should provide us with an overview of opinions and attitudes from diverse health professionals and help us understand how to develop a better patient pathway for the future management of dry eye disease. The past 10 years have seen a considerable rise in awareness of DED across the UK and the rest of the world, with clinical care provided by a wide range of health professionals. While greater awareness is to be welcomed, it brings with it a new set of potential problems, with many individuals now in a position to self-diagnose and use supermarkets, pharmacies, opticians and online outlets to purchase products with little or no clinical guidance. As eye-care health professionals, we all need to understand the different mechanisms and treatment options for this common disease. We need to provide evidence-based definitions and a contemporary classification for DED. We are getting there and I am confident this debate will be a milestone on our journey.”

Panellists will include academic optometrist Professor James Wolffsohn, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor at Aston University Birmingham, consultant rheumatologist Professor David D’Cruz, director of the Lupus unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’s London, consultant ophthalmologist and BCLA President Elect Professor Sunil Shah, corneal specialist from Birmingham, dry eye specialist and independent optometrist Nick Rumney and General Practitioner and RCGP ophthalmology champion Dr Waqaar Shah together with representatives from the College of Optometrists, LOCSU and ABDO.

A packed programme will also see consultant ophthalmologist and eye surgeon at Temple St Children’s Hospital, Dr Ian Flitcroft, deliver the 2017 Pioneers Lecture on the subject of epidemiology of myopia and the public health time bomb. The event will ask if DED is intrinsically linked to contact lens wearer success and will examine the management of ocular surface health prior to and during contact lens wear.

Past president of the BCLA Anna Sulley will discuss contact lens retention success while Professor James Wolffsohn will look at in detail at the TFOS DEWSII report and the Impact this will have in practice for the diagnosis, management and treatment of dry eye disease.

The event, being held in conjunction with partners Alcon and CooperVision and sponsors Johnson & Johnson Vision, Menicon, Mark’ennovy, Supermax Vision UK Aveo, Thea Pharmaceuticals, Topcon and UltraVision, will be held at The Wellcome Collection in London from 1pm to 8pm on Wednesday, December 13. A copy of the full programme is available online at the BCLA website now, visit