Dry eye syndrome, medically known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is an ocular disorder caused by the lack of tear fluid to lubricate the eyes. This can be an indicator of either low production of tears or rapid evaporation of the film of tears on the surface of the eyes, which can be brought about by several conditions. Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye disorders around the world and is particularly common in the geriatric demographic. Reduction in the production of tears due to aging is the primary cause of dry eye syndrome among the elderly. Regular users of contact lenses also have an increased risk of dry eye syndrome.
Depending upon the cause and severity of the condition, dry eye syndrome can be irreversible. However, most cases can be treated with a combination of artificial tears, steroid eye drops, warm compressors, and punctal plugs. All these treatments have different mechanisms: artificial tears can close up the deficiency of natural tears to lubricate the eyes, steroid drops help soothe inflammation around the eye to stimulate natural tear production, warm compressors help increase the activity of glands around the eyes required to produce tears, and punctal plugs help keep tears on the surface of the eyes for a longer period.
The growth of the global dry eye syndrome market is primarily due to the increase in the overall prevalence of dry eye syndrome, which is attributable to a combination of several factors.
The rising geriatric population around the world has led to an upsurge in the overall prevalence of dry eye syndrome, as tear glands weaken due to aging and can’t produce sufficient tear fluid to maintain a lubricating film over the eyes.
The high prevalence of other conditions that can affect the functioning of the eye, such as diabetes, is another major factor boosting the prevalence of dry eye syndrome. The changes in the composition of the patient’s blood due to diabetes can affect tear glands adversely, causing dry eye syndrome. Other conditions that can indirectly cause dry eye syndrome include vitamin A deficiency, lupus, thyroid disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The global dry eye syndrome market has also been boosted by the increasing awareness among the population about this disease. Dry eye syndrome is likely to be ignored by many patients, since the inconvenience caused by it is not debilitating. However, the rising awareness about the diagnosis and treatment of the disease has resulted in more patients proactively trying to cure the disease, propelling the global dry eye syndrome market. Nevertheless, the popularity of self-medication by patients remains a major restraint on the dry eye syndrome market at present.
Steady government support for medical research has allowed researchers to treat this condition more precisely and comprehensively. Research into the disease has been productive in recent years as a result, helping the global dry eye syndrome market post a high growth rate due to the growing confidence of patients in the treatments on offer. Many governments around the world are expected to keep up their strong support for medical research in the near future, indirectly benefitting the global dry eye syndrome market.
However, the expiration of patents on major drugs used in the treatment of dry eye syndrome is a major restraint on the global dry eye syndrome market.
The global dry eye syndrome market is dominated by North America. The high prevalence of lifestyle disorders that increase the chances of contracting dry eye syndrome in this region is a major driver for the North America dry eye syndrome market. Medications such as antihistamines, pain relievers, and antidepressants, the use of which is rampant in North America, also reportedly increase the risk of dry eye syndrome.
However, the swelling patient population and strong government support for medical research in Asia Pacific are expected to enable rapid growth of the regional market in the coming years.
Some of the major companies in the global dry eye syndrome market are Novartis, Nicox, Allergan Inc., Bridge Pharma Inc., and Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Of these, Novartis, Allergan, and Santen have established a dominant presence in the global dry eye syndrome market and are expected to lead the market in the coming years as well.
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