Dry eye disease is a disorder of the tear film that occurs when the eyes are incapable to produce tears, which are required to maintain lubrication and moisture on the surfaces of the eyes. It is commonly known as dry eye syndrome or dry eye. Major symptoms include irritation, blurred vision, and burning sensation. If left untreated, it leads to pain, ulcers, and loss of some vision. Complete loss of vision is uncommon with the dry eye disease. Alternative medical terms which are used to describe the dry eye disease include keratoconjunctivitis sicca (affects cornea and conjunctiva), keratitis sicca (dryness and inflammation of the cornea), and dysfunctional tear syndrome (inadequate quality of tears). The two types of the disease are aqueous tear-deficient dry eye and evaporative dry eye. In aqueous tear-deficient dry eye, the lacrimal glands fail to produce ample of the aqueous component of tears to uphold a healthy eye surface. Evaporative dry eye may result from inflammation of the meibomian glands. These glands make the lipid part of tears that slow down evaporation and keep the tears stable. Globally, the dry eye disease affects approximately 60 million people. This disorder can affect individuals of any age, but it is most common in elderly people (prevalence of about 5%-30% above the age of 60 years). It affects primarily women as compared to men due to hormonal changes. Use of certain medications such as antihistamines, analgesics, and antidepressants increases the risk of developing the dry eye disease. People with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of the disease.
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The dry eye disease has been recognized as an inflammatory process. The primary approach to treat the disease includes adding tears using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions, increasing tear production (omega-3 fatty acid), and treating the inflammation (topical cyclosporine and topical corticosteroids). Drug manufacturing companies such as Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. are focused on new treatment strategies, targeting potential targets such as glucocorticoid receptor which can improve the current standard of care. Additionally, the dry eye disease has become a target for device development (Oculeve neurostimulator device) which addresses different and innovative ways to treat the disease. As of 2017, the clinical pipeline of the disease consists of 50 drug molecules, out of which 44% are small molecules, 2% are small molecules, 21% are peptides, and 33% are others. Increased in research and development expenditure, development of new treatment strategies, growth in patient awareness about the treatment are factors fueling the dry eye disease market. However, increase in use of self-medication such as over-the-counter medications or home remedies acts as a key restraint for the growth of the dry eye disease market.
The global dry eye disease market has been segmented by product type and geography. Based on product type, the market has been divided into small molecules, biologics, and others. The small molecules segment is expected to grow as compared to other therapeutic segments because the majority of pipeline molecules for the treatment of dry eye disease are small molecules.
Geographically, the global market is classified into five regions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. The Europe and North America markets are expected to grow as compared to the Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa markets due to higher prevalence rate, increase in the use of other medications such as antihistamine, and rise in geriatric population. Asia Pacific is likely to be an emerging market in the next few years due to the developing health care infrastructure, rising government expenditure in the health care industry, increasing use of effective diagnostic tools, and growing prevalence rate of the disease. However, lack of proper treatment and poor patient awareness are restraining the growth of the market in regions such as Middle East & Africa and Latin America.
Major players operating in the dry eye disease market include Novartis International AG, Ocular Therapeutix, Inc., Allergan Plc., LTT Bio-Pharma, RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Alcon Research, Ltd., Xigen SA., Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and Novaliq GmbH.
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