Dr. Jacqueline Muller Tests New Technology for the Diagnosis and Management of Dry Eye

Dr. Jacqueline Muller, a New York City ophthalmologist who specializes in both dry eye disease and laser vision correction, recently announced that she evaluated her patients using Tearlab’s (NASDAQ:TEAR; TSX:TLB) Osmolarity System to measure the osmolarity of the eye’s tear film and diagnose dry eye disease.

“Dry eye is a chronic, progressive condition,” she said in a statement. “Having an objective tool to aid in its diagnosis and management would be extremely beneficial to my patients.” Dr. Muller looks forward to working with this new technology further in an effort to better elucidate its clinical applications and usefulness.

Tear hyperosmolarity is central to all forms of dry eye. In addition, a difference in inter-eye (the difference between the two eyes) osmolarity is the hallmark of tear film instability. The prevalence of dry eye has increased dramatically over the last three decades, in part due to an increase in contact lens wear, air travel, air pollution and ever increasing use of technology such as computers and tablets.

Tear hyperosmolarity can be used, not only to diagnose dry eye, but also to monitor the efficacy of its treatment, Dr. Muller explains, adding that it’s analogous to measuring a person’s cholesterol level. Once high cholesterol is diagnosed, therapy can be implemented and, on a going forward basis, a person’s cholesterol level can be monitored and treatment adjusted accordingly.

“To have an objective tool to diagnose dry eye, quantify its severity and help monitor the efficacy of specific dry eye treatments, would be invaluable,” she said.

People with dry eye and who are interested in pursuing laser vision correction also could potentially benefit from the TearLab device. Approximately 85% of people who opt for laser vision correction have some form of dry eye.

“It’s a skewed patient population that is self-selecting in that these are often people who dislike wearing eyeglasses and therefore have been wearing their contact lens most of their waking hours,” she explains. Then, as their dry eye progressively worsens, they can no longer comfortably wear their contact lenses.

The good news is that having pre-existing dry eye does not preclude a person from having a successful laser vision correction procedure.

“As long as an individual is appropriately evaluated pre-operatively, and their dry eye is properly diagnosed and treated prior to, and following, their laser vision correction, everything should go beautifully,” she said, adding that tear osmolarity testing could be “extremely helpful in this group of patients.”

In addition to her practice, Dr. Muller holds an attending staff appointment at the NY Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and a teaching appointment at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Medical Strollers of New York City.

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