Dry eye patient resource launching in NZ

April 1, 2024 Staff reporters

A new dry eye disease resource for patients is being launched in New Zealand with a public event aimed at the region’s dry eye patients on Saturday 13 April at the University of Auckland.


The Dry Eye Association website contains links to patient-friendly information about dry eye and its management, tips for treatments, such as lid hygiene and warm compresses, and links to dedicated, local patient groups on Facebook and Instagram. Based on and supported by the Dry Eye Foundation in the US, it was developed and originally unveiled in November last year in the UK by Professor James Wolffsohn and his team at the School of Optometry at Aston University, Birmingham.


“It’s about peer support,” said Prof Wolffsohn who’s currently based at the University of Auckland as part of the Hood Fellowships programme. The website will help patients to remember the advice and tips they’ve been given by their eyecare practitioner, while the social media aspect, run by patients for patients, provides an opportunity for them to connect and share what works and what doesn’t, for example, he said. The dry-eye-association.com website includes a central common area and tabs for country-specific research and social media resources.


“Currently New Zealand has no public support group yet has hundreds of thousands of affected individuals seeking help,” said Professor Jennifer Craig, head of the Ocular Surface Laboratory and host for Prof Wolffsohn’s fellowship visit. “This is about giving patients access to evidence-based practice and recommendations, so they can learn more about their condition and ways of managing it, (and) practitioners to have somewhere they can send patients to where they won’t be given duff information. It will also provide a means for us, as clinicians and researchers, to hear the patient voice which is vital in taking a patient-centred approach to clinical care and in considering future research priorities.”



Profs James Wolffsohn and Jennifer Craig



The public launch of the New Zealand chapter of the Dry Eye Association is scheduled for Saturday 13 April from 10am to 4pm in the foyer of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences building at the University of Auckland. It will include senior researcher and dry eye practitioner talks in the morning followed by lunch and networking, a live demonstration of an ocular surface workup and facilitated small-group discussions for patients to share perceptions and frustrations about their current dry eye management, said Prof Craig.


For more information or for patients who wish to attend, email dryeyeassocnz@gmail.com. An Eventbrite link is being set up and will be available shortly.