Faculty revealed for WCO and Alcon dry eye disease education initiative

Professors Jennifer Craig, Lyndon Jones and James Wolffsohn will hold up the educational programme for optometrists

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The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and Alcon have named the three industry experts who will lead a new initiative to support optometrists’ understanding of dry eye disease.

Announced in the summer, the evidence-based dry eye disease education initiative will collate insights from experts and summarise the latest research covering dry eye disease. 

Now, the founding bodies have named Professors James Wolffsohn, Jennifer Craig and Lyndon Jones as the faculty behind the new education programme.

The experts will distil research and clinical evidence into educational content, beginning with a series of online events and content.

James Wolffsohn
James Wolffsohn
Wolffsohn is head of the School of Optometry and Department of Audiology at Aston University with main research areas covering the development and evaluation of ophthalmic instrumentation, myopia management, contact lenses, intraocular lenses and tear film.

He is a National Teaching Fellow and has published more than 290 full peer-reviewed papers. He is academic chair of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), having previously served as president, and was chair of the BCLA’s Contact Lens Evidence-based Academic Report (CLEAR).

Commenting on the initiative, Wolffsohn said the partnership between WCO and Alcon offers “great potential to raise the profile of dry eye disease” and improve care for patients worldwide, adding: “A substantial proportion of our patients have dry eye disease, impacting their quality of life. As eye care practitioners, we need to be unified in our differential diagnosis and evidence-based in our management of this chronic disease.”

Jennifer Craig
Jennifer Craig
Craig leads the Ocular Surface Laboratory in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

A therapeutic research optometrist, she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students and leads international multicentre clinical trials.

Craig has a research focus in the ocular surface, primarily dry eye disease and tear film dysfunction.

She holds academic appointments around the world and publishes widely in scientific and clinical press, including contributing to the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society’s (TFOS) International Workshops on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Contact Lens Discomfort. Craig also served as vice chair for TFOS Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) II.

Calling it an “honour” to be involved in the collaborative project, Craig said the initiative offers an opportunity to “raise awareness of this impactful disease and, using the best available scientific evidence, to support practitioners in any clinical setting across the world to deliver optimal care for patients with dry eye.”

“Chronic dry eye disease that adversely impacts daily life remains one of the most commonly reported problems in eye care practice globally,” she explained.

Lyndon Jones
Lyndon Jones
Director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo in Canada, Jones’ research interests focus on the “interaction of novel and existing contact lens materials with the ocular environment,” as well as dry eye and the development of novel materials for ocular drug delivery.

Jones has authored more than 450 refereed and professional papers, and served as lead author on the TFOS DEWS II Management and Therapy Report. He has also authored a textbook and given more than 1000 invited lectures at conferences worldwide.

“Dry eye disease is a global issue that continues to grow in terms of the numbers of people it affects and the impact it has on sufferers,” Jones said. “Data shows quite clearly the impact it has on eye health, ocular comfort, depression and economic burden.”

“I am delighted that the WCO has partnered with Alcon to make people more aware of the fact that dry eye disease is more than just an annoyance; it has a real impact that needs to be addressed,” Jones added.

The educational initiative aims to improve optometrists’ understanding of dry eye aetiology and prevalence, diagnoses and practical management.

Details of the first educational session timings are set to be released in the coming weeks. Updates will be shared to the WCO website. 

A website dedicated to the initiative is in development.