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A Closer Look: Inside Alcon’s Partnership with the WCO for Dry Eye Education

Together, Alcon and the World Council of Optometry (WCO) formed an exciting global dry eye education initiative to arm optometrists with the latest scientific knowledge and understanding of dry eye disease, a pervasive and chronic condition that negatively impacts the quality of life for sufferers.

The following are common symptoms of dry eye disease – dryness, tiredness, irritation, soreness, burning, stinging, and watery eyes.1 At a time when dry eye disease prevalence is widespread and on the rise, there is no better time to educate and guide the global optometry community so they can better help dry eye patients.

Here’s a closer look at the exciting initiative.

Alcon is proud to have partnered with the World Council of Optometry and our expert faculty as we work to raise awareness of dry eye and support optometrists in helping those who suffer.

- Carla Mack, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, Head, Global and U.S. Professional Education and Development for Alcon

Dry Eye on the Rise

There’s a perfect storm brewing for dry eye issues around the globe. Aging populations, skyrocketing digital screen usage and environmental triggers all play into ever-growing dry eye challenges for patients everywhere. Worldwide, 1.4 billion people have symptoms of dry eye – and it’s on the rise.1

As prevalence increases, many Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) globally are eager to better understand how to diagnose and effectively manage the condition. This partnership aimed to raise optometrists’ understanding of dry eye and deliver resources on practical management.

For example, in a study, patients with dry eye were 2-3x more likely to report difficulties in daily activities such as reading, driving and watching TV than those without dry eye.2

“The impact of dry eye on quality of life is comparable to other disabling conditions,” explained Dr. Carla Mack, Head, Global and U.S. Professional Education and Development for Alcon. “Even mild-to-moderate dry eye can reduce a person’s quality of life. We’re excited to help more optometrists access the latest data and world-class faculty so that more patients who suffer from dry eye disease can find relief.”

Connecting ECPs with Top Experts

The WCO membership extends to over 116,000 optometric Eye Care Professionals in six global regions and 46 country-level organizations. Alcon and the WCO enlisted world-class dry eye authorities to bring the most up-to-date research and clinical data to WCO members and all ECPs who can leverage it in finding solutions for their patients.

Jonathon Bench, International Director, Professional Education and Development at Alcon explained, “World-renowned Professors Jennifer Craig, Lyndon Jones and James Wolffsohn each bring unique perspectives and impressive research to the dry eye education conversation. With their collective insights, we distilled the growing amount of clinical research and evidence into easily accessible educational content.”

The Initiative

The evidence-rich initiative delivered the latest science to optometrists, empowering them to influence better outcomes for dry eye patients worldwide. Through a series of live and now available on-demand events, leading experts helped optometrists throughout the world better understand, identify and manage the intricacies of dry eye disease. In addition, a dedicated website with a comprehensive suite of practical multimedia materials is available to make the content as accessible and practical as possible.

Dr. Carla Mack on a stage in a recording studio

“It’s an honor to have been involved in this valuable collaboration between WCO and Alcon, which offered an exciting opportunity to raise awareness of this impactful disease,” said Professor Jennifer Craig, who heads the Ocular Surface Laboratory in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “Using the best available scientific evidence, we aspire to support practitioners in any clinical setting across the world to deliver optimal care for patients with dry eye.”

Throughout the partnership, the experts provided tangible resources to alleviate the difficulty around the identification and management of dry eye. The WCO Alcon Dry Eye Wheel was last, but certainly not least, to be announced as a tool for optometrists to help manage their patients’ dry eye symptoms by focusing on pillars that address the difficult disease.

Dr. Carla Mack emphasizes, “The WCO Alcon Dry Eye Wheel is a fantastic tool that aims to deliver a great deal of knowledge and an easy-to-apply approach in eye care practices worldwide. Alcon is proud to partner with the World Council of Optometry and our expert faculty as we work to raise awareness of dry eye and support optometrists in helping those who suffer.”

Eye Care Professionals can access on-demand videos focused on dry eye disease mitigation, measurement and management at http://www.worldcouncilofoptometry.info/.



  1. Market Scope Quarterly Report, 2020.
  2. Miljanovic B, Dana R, Sullivan DA, Schaumberg DA (2007) Impact of dry eye syndrome on vision-related quality of life. Am J Ophthalmol 143 (3): 409-415.