TearCare: Wearable warm compresses
It’s a cool technology concept
And they’ve just published a second study
In the original, A novel system, TearCare®, for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease (Badawi, Clinical Ophthalmology, April 2018), they compared a single TearCare treatment with four weeks of warm compresses.
A single treatment with the TearCare system, in this clinical trial, demonstrated a sustained and statistically significant improvement in the signs and symptoms of DED at the primary end point time of 4 weeks and at each follow-up visit up to 6 months
So the argument here is that you could avoid all that hassle of daily compresses, and get better results, if you did this fancy in-office procedure.
A follow-up study about a second treatment was published last month: TearCare® system extension study: evaluation of the safety, effectiveness, and durability through 12 months of a second TearCare® treatment on subjects with dry eye disease. (Badawi, Clinical Ophthalmology, Jan 2019). I only have the abstract on this one, so it’s a little harder to gauge what was going on, because they only reported a little of what was going on one month after the second treatment. But for what it’s worth, they say:
…Significant improvements in the mean change from baseline in meibomian gland scores, corneal and conjunctival staining scores, and symptoms of DED were also observed following retreatment. The second treatment was well tolerated.
CONCLUSION: The findings of the extension study through 12 months suggest that a second TearCare® treatment after 6 months provides additional improvement in the signs and symptoms of DED.
And I just keep finding myself questioning…
…where we are going with all this.
The market appears to have an insatiable appetite for new meibomian gland treatments.
How much of this, I wonder, is really driven by actual need for more effective or more convenient treatments, or simply by the need to squeeze every last drop out of the meibomian gland cash cow through in-office procedures, the vast majority of which are cash pay only?
Do these new treatments and contraptions have a compelling reason for being, or are they just more stuff to try? Do they actually work to the benefit of patients, or only manufacturers and eye doctors?
I can’t pretend to answer the question, but I’m convinced we need to keep asking it as new treatments continue rolling onto the market.
There is no reason why we consumers should allow ourselves to become nails for every last MGD hammer the industry can conceive of, unless we’re doing it for the sheer joy of conspicuous consumerism.