This week in KeratoScoop: ARVO! ARVO! ARVO! Reporting back after three glorious days saturating in dry eye science in Vancouver. Two new dry eye stories that illustrate why we know that hope for improved quality of life is real. 10% coupon for the shop.

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May 3, 2019  Newsletter  -    Volume 11 - Issue 10



ARVO is an extraordinary medical conference dedicated entirely to vision and eye research. The best international brains in ophthalmology come together to present their research and share ideas and connect with others. It's an amazing experience just to witness the sheer scope of it all. And it's a fabulous venue to learn what's going on specifically in dry eye research! I drove up to Vancouver for the conference and blogged about the presentations and scientific posters.

Here are some highlights, with links to all of my blog posts for anything you're interested in reading more about.


Sunday was a warm-up day! I attended a terrific session on the potential and the limitations of big data in eye research, which I'm keenly interested in.  Then I moved on to the scientific posters, and after going through about an acre of them, I realized that was only half and that there were more on the other side, some of which were also about dry eye. Topics ranged from new drug concepts to anxiety and depression to BAK to cataract surgery/dry eye issues to slow-release cyclosporine.


Then the paper sessions started and that's where things started getting exciting (well, for me anyway). 

DRY EYE I presentations covered, among many others, the following:

  • Benzalkonium chloride, and how they use it to create dry eye in experiments
  • Regenerating ATROPHIED meibomian (oil) glands! Just as exciting as it sounds. 
  • How a high fat diet may interfere with lacrimal (tear) gland function

As the sessions mounted and the presentations went on... this is when I really started taking on board the vast resources and efforts going into dry eye research. I wish everyone who has ever felt discouraged about the lack of solutions could have been there and experienced it.

Monday's scientific posters were a lot of fun and covered ground from gut microbiome to breast cancer treatment and dry eye to demodex, dirty air (indoor as well as outoor), drops, MGD, glaucoma, mining Facebook data on rare dry eye related diseases, and somatosensory changes during the menstrual cycle that may affect our experience of dry eye. Somewhere there was something about tear film biomarkers for Alzheimers, too.



Scientific posters ran the gamut!

  • It was a zoo! Busy and buzzing, but also lots of critters on posters. We had mice, tree shrews, chickens rabbits and pigs... all in dry eye studies. 
  • How tears of boxers with a history of TBIs differ from normal
  • Lots on lipids and how tear evaporation happens! 
  • Preservative issues
  • Excess tearing, and improving diagnosis of the causes
  • Tear film biomarkers for Parkinsons?
  • And so much more.

Dry Eye II was exceedingly technical, but still had plenty of points of interest. 

The Lacrimal Gland mini-symposium was a very, very happy place to nerd out, and did they ever. Fantastic presentations including...

  • Background of the lacrimal (tear) glands and how they work
  • Delightful presentation from Dr Tsubota on the intersection of tears and happiness and how this led them to some fascinating research about which parts of the brain are involved with our tears
  • Lacrimal gland regeneration! It just doesn't get more exciting than that!
  • And so much more.

ARVO wrap-up

If you read nothing else, please consider reading (or listening! I have an audio recording on the blog) my final notes as I reflected on the big picture of what this event meant to me and what I want you to know about what's going on in dry eye research. 

Next stop: ASCRS!

After saturating in science to my heart's content at ARVO, now I get to take a deep breath and plunge into the commercial world to find out what everyone who makes, buys and sells dry eye drugs, devices and diagnostics is working on. Not as much fun as science, perhaps, but I know it will be extremely informative and I look forward to reporting back what I learn.

Still room in the piggy bank, by the way

THANK YOU SO MUCH to the many, many people who have so generously been supporting me in this work! It's so humbling. In case anyone is seeing this for the first time, I thought I'd post the link once more to my GoFundMe travel fund which is still open in case anyone's inspired :) 

The Dry Eye Zone
Dry Eye Stories
Dry Eye Talk Forums

I love this picture of Gary enjoying time on the water thanks to scleral lenses. 

Gary's story

Read Gary's story

Gary says to never give up and to know when to find a new specialist. After LASIK he was dealing with MGD, RCE, and nerve pain, "in October 2015 my specialist at the time (#3) patted me on the back and said “Just keep hanging in there” – I took that to mean he was out of ideas. He had to go! ... Now I just have to stand the pain for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night i.e. when I am not wearing the lenses. I can cope with that much pain."

Read Hanns' story

"I’m glad to be able to report that my eye condition has been brought completely under control, so much so, that I almost regard it as a problem of the past... improvements can unexpectedly occur, perhaps via a treatment you had not previously heard of – hope, I can testify, is always justified!"

It's not that he doesn't have to do anything for his eyes anymore (he uses hypochlorous acid on his lids, and artificial tears, for example) - it's about how much better off he is now than before. Hanns credits peers in community dry eye forums (in this case, DryEyeTalk) for key breakthroughs.

Hanns' story

Want to share your story? Contact Aidan!

Bad BAK reference list
Call/Text 877-693-7939

This week's coupon:

10% Off coupon for the Dry Eye Shop

Coupon code: "10off"

Valid for 10% off orders of $50 or more, now through May 10, 2019.
Discount will appear during checkout.

Did you know?

Most glaucoma eye drops contain BAK, a preservative notorious for causing and exacerbating dry eye - even when only used once a day. Research your eyedrops at this link, and talk to your glaucoma doctor about options that are preservative-free or have less toxic preservatives.

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