Happy new year! Celebrating 2018, moving forward into an exciting 2019!
We’re off to a great start!
I am feeling pumped for 2019.
I have some huge challenges on my plate right now, personally.
But I am blessed with so much. I have my terrific little team here in Poulsbo. I have amazing readers - customers - clients - doctors and others who want to help us and help others in various ways, who send encouraging words when most needed, and who even donate to the cause. It’s a good place.
2018… some highlights!
Lots of celebrations. Grief and dark moments. Lots of hard work. A full year.
Dry eye drug pipeline… the result of a lot of research over Christmas. Have a look. Even if you aren’t interested in dry eye drugs per se, these list is full of hope - because there is just so much research going on and at all stages of development. All different aspects of dry eye are being studied and a huge variety of “mechanisms of action” for treatment.
“Research Questions and Outcomes Prioritized by Patients with Dry Eye” (Saldanha et al) was published in JAMA Ophthalmology. This was a really exciting project… asking patients, for the first time, what they think about what the focus of dry eye research should be. KeratoScoop readers who participated in the surveys were the stars of this show!
Aidan launched the Dry Eye Stories website, as a permanent, accessible, searchable archive of the real life stories of what dry eye is like and how it affects our lives. Please consider sharing a story if you haven’t!
Facebook: Our “organically grown” DryEyeTalk group has grown to 3,500 members.
DryEyeZone Forums: This platform had suffered a lot of technical and general neglect during a couple of overly busy years but we finally got it mostly cleaned up and it is once fully active. If you haven’t visited, you should. The topical archives are a great way to search patient experiences of specific treatments, for example.
We lost Perry Rosenthal, beloved by the dry eye and neuropathic eye pain communities. An icon of compassionate, skilled care.
Dry Eye Awareness Month 2018 was a busy time here, especially writing up a storm about prevention topics. A lot of prevention writing this year was focused on “iatrogenic” dry eye, that is, dry eye caused by medical treatments, including drugs, drops and surgeries.
KeratoScoop: After two years of not being able to do my newsletters with any regularity, I was thrilled to finally get this back on track in 2018 and, in fact, put out weekly newletters with pretty fair consistency till switching to monthly (while sending out lots of additional emails in between). I’m still experimenting with the best use of email and appreciate how everyone has borne with me!
This website: Back in spring of 2018, I finally moved the ancient, creaking DryEyeZone site to a new platform where I could hope to maintain it more easily. A great deal of content was badly outdates. Much, in fact perhaps most of that remains to be re-written… something that I was disappointed about not achieving in 2018, true, but looking forward to doing a really good job of it in the coming months.
A mental health crisis. As 2018 was drawing to a close and we were grappling with reports of two recent suicides, I found myself focused more and more on the urgent need for better resources to support people suffering from the mental health impact of dry eye. This is the very first area that The Dry Eye Foundation will be working on.
The Dry Eye Foundation. it finally became the right time for us to start a nonprofit. Roz, Aidan and I incorporated it in October.
2019… what’s ahead?
The Dry Eye Foundation. We are moving forward, slowly but very, very thoughtfully about what this organization will be like, how it can best facilitate real change and real service for the communities we serve. If you would like to contribute, we have a GoFundMe account for startup expenses, and I have a Patreon account.
Dry Eye Zone website. The original Dry Eye Encyclopedia, home to myriad articles about all kinds of both medical and practical topics on dry eye, had gotten painfully out of date, so we actually scrapped it when upgrading to a new platform, but it has yet to be replaced. That’s going to happen progressively over the next six months and I’m really excited about it.
Dry Eye Awareness Month 2019: Stay tuned! Having the Foundation this year will make July a completely different animal from before!
Lots, lots more - however, everything else I have in mind for 2019 will be happening under the auspices of the Dry Eye Foundation. So stay tuned!