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Dry eye syndrome industry to be worth more than $2.4 billion by 2014

Matt Bodimeade

The dry eye syndrome market is huge and continuously growing, valued at $1.7 billion in 2009 with an annual growth of approximately 10 to 11%. The industry could account for more than $2.4 billion by 2014.

It is expected that the number of prevalent cases within the dry eye syndrome market throughout the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Japan, China, and India will grow by 2.73% each year, from 195.64 million cases in 2012 to 249.09 million cases by 2022.

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common ophthalmological disorders, causing chronic discomfort in up to 100 million people worldwide, and the disease burden is forecast to increase as average life expectancy rises.

The prevalence of dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, primarily increases with age, and has an estimated incidence of 15% in persons over the age of 65 years. However, gender, certain medical conditions, and modern conveniences can all play a part in a sufferer's condition.

As people grow older the production of oil in the body decreases, which reduces tear production and increases evaporation of tears, resulting in dryness of eyes. A greater risk of acquiring dry eye is also experienced by females, with postmenopausal women being particularly at risk, and again, natural biological changes are the reason for this.

In the US alone, the economic burden of dry eye totals $3.84 billion in direct annual health care costs. When including the indirect costs of lost productivity, the societal burden of dry eye rises to $55.4 billion annually in the US.

For patients, the average annual direct cost ranges from $678 for patients with mild dry eye to $1,267 for severe cases. If pharmaceuticals and punctual plugs are included, the cost rises for these patients to $2,959 annually.

The main pharmaceutical companies have recently attempted to acquire market share. In 2010, Novartis bought Alcon's remaining 52% for $28.1 billion (now making 77%). The first line of treatment is usually eye drops. The market for artificial tears is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion this year. Eye drops act as artificial tears and give temporary relief, but there is no cure for dry eye syndrome.

For more information on the dry eye syndrome market, see the latest research: Dry Eye Syndrome Market

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