Efforts to Address Untreated Patients

Promoting Patient Access to Treatment

As a result of the widespread use of VDTs(*1), in the course of daily life people are overtaxing their eyes. This means that the number of patients who will develop eye disease will increase.
Although developing new drugs for emerging diseases is one of our most important tasks, we cannot protect people from eye diseases by simply developing and producing pharmaceuticals. We must also provide patients with more opportunities to better understand their own eye diseases and to encourage them to pursue treatment. As a company specializing in ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, Santen offers as much information as possible to the patient. In a joint effort with doctors, we encourage patients to visit medical institutions.

  1. Visual Display Terminals, such as personal computers, cell phones, and computer game machines.


Promoting Treatment of Untreated Patients with Our Accumulated Expertise

What image do you associate with the term “dry eye”? It is a modern-day disease whose concept was introduced to Japan around 1985. The number of potential patients with dry eye disease is estimated at over 8 million in Japan. Of those only around 2 million are estimated to receive treatment prescribed by a doctor. While the term “dry eye disease” has become popular through various media, not many people appreciate that it is a disorder that requires treatment by a medical professional. As a specialty company in the ophthalmic field, Santen strives to involve medical institutions in our dry-eye program. Since 2007, we have been promoting public awareness of dry eye through TV commercials, websites, and advertisements in newspapers, magazines, and on trains in Japan. We have also provided consultation meetings at shopping centers and other facilities. Santen continues to address the needs of untreated dry eye patients through various media.

What is dry eye syndrome ?

True to its name, dry eye syndrome is characterized by a lack of moisture on the ocular surface. Symptoms such as irritation and a sensation of grittiness are triggered by lower tear volume and quality. The tear film is essentially made up of three components: a lipid layer, an aqueous and a mucin layer consisting of a viscous protein. An imbalance of these components for any number of reasons impacts the ability of the tear film to protect the ocular surface.

Structure of tear film
Oil layerThis outmost layer prevents moisture evaporation.
Aqueous / mucin layersThe aqueous and mucin layers lubricate the ocular surface, nourish the cornea, and act as an antiseptic against foreign substances and pathogens. They also help aqueous tears adhere to the eye.


Pioneering Future Medical Treatments by Supporting Doctors

Santen is working to create a patient-friendly environment at medical institutions, taking advantage of its solid partnership with doctors, which the Company has fostered throughout its long history. Santen will continue providing doctors with medical information concerning diagnosis and treatment methods. Through such activities, we will offer more and better treatment opportunities for patients.

Detecting Dry Eye Disease at a Medical Checkup!

To encourage untreated patients with dry eye syndrome to visit an eye doctor as soon as possible, the Dry Eye Society(*2) and Santen are jointly promoting a dry eye checkup campaign in Japan. In a pilot program held at a certain company, we discovered around 80% of the participants in the checkup were suspected to be suffering from dry eye syndrome. To promote early detection and prompt resolution of dry eye syndrome, Santen will continue to conduct medical checkups particularly at companies whose employees use VDTs for a long period of time.

  1. A Japanese medical organization consisting of ophthalmologists as well as physicians and researchers in other fields that performs etiology /pathology studies and evidence compilation to improve treatment and diagnosis odd rye eye syndrome.

Diagnosing dry eye

1. Medical interview
2. Practical visual acuity test

Developed to check vision over an uninterrupted span of time, this test measures the ability of a subject to identify Landolt rings(*3) that change every two seconds. It is believed to better reflect actual conditions in daily life.

*3    A ring that has a gap, thus resembling the letter C.

3. Fluorescein eye stain
In this test a reagent called fluorescein stains any abrasions or dry patches on the cornea and renders them visible to a slit lamp exam.
4. Tear breakup time test
This test assesses tear film stability by measuring the time it takes for tear film to break up when the eye is kept open and prevented from blinking.
5. Schirmer’s test
In this test to measure tear volume, a 7 mm x 50 mm paper strip with a legend is placed at the outer edge of the lower eyelid for five minutes. A value of 10 mm or more on the legend is considered to be normal.