New Research Reveals Critical Role of Ophthalmologists in Maintaining Ongoing Dry Eye Disease Care During COVID-19

Source: Santen

Santen EMEA shared the results of a new patient survey, which was conducted to find out the real world impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with dry eye disease. This research provides insight into the impact of COVID-19 on the quality of life of people with dry eye disease, as well as valuable findings for ophthalmologists. Following the first wave of infections due to COVID-19, Santen EMEA surveyed 502 people suffering from dry eye disease across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK about how government-mandated lockdown measures had affected their symptoms and how these symptoms impacted their lives during this time.

The report, published today and available on www.santen.eu, reveals that:

  • The majority (65%) said they increased their screen time during lockdown, which they felt was the top reason for worsening or continued dry eye disease symptoms
  • Almost three quarters (72%) said their dry eye disease had had a negative impact on their lives since lockdown, affecting many areas of their life, including sleep, enjoyment of entertainment, family life, social life, and exercise
  • Ten percent reported being unable to work because of their dry eye disease, with 8% stating it had affected their finances.

“It’s critical to keep in touch with your patients, even if in-person eye checks aren’t possible, and to continue their current treatment,” Stefano Barabino, Head of the Ocular Surface & Dry Eye Center at the Sacco Hospital, Milan, Italy, said in a company news release. “We can reassure our patients by outlining simple lifestyle changes to help manage their dry eye, such as good lid hygiene, alongside reaffirming our commitment to their care during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Despite worsening symptoms, a worrying six out of ten people didn’t see a healthcare professional about their dry eye disease during lockdown due to anxieties around contracting COVID-19.[1 ] This resulted in a significant increase in the number of people not picking up their treatments, when compared with the period prior to lockdown.[1] However, with many clinics across Europe implementing strict infection-control procedures and the sharp increase in the uptake of telemedicine, there is an opportunity for ophthalmologists to leverage digital tools and create efficiencies to facilitate continuous patient care.

“The results of our survey highlight how dry eye adds to the negative impact the pandemic is having on people’s lives,” said Jean-Sébastien Garrigue, Vice-President, Medical Affairs EMEA, Santen. “Almost half of survey respondents (47%) said they are seeking a recommendation for better relief and a third (32%) are requiring advice on how to change their lifestyle. We hope that by sharing these findings we can highlight to ophthalmologists the identified needs of dry eye sufferers, as we continue to adapt to a world with COVID-19.”

This research was conducted by Day One. During July 2020, 502 online surveys were completed across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. All participants suffered from dry eye disease and took treatment for it. At least half in each country were under the care of an ophthalmologist. Questions focused on the first four months of the COVID-19 crisis, compared to before the crisis.

View the survey results here.


1. The impact of COVID-19 on people with dry eye disease. Santen 2020 data on file. NP-FOTE-EMEA-0168

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