New Drugs and Procedures Will Drive Dry Eye Market, Along with Better Access

December 31, 2016: By Market Scope

Market Scope expects the global dry eye treatments market to grow at a healthy pace through 2021, as 2016 revenues of $3.4 billion climb to nearly $4.5 billion. Market revenues will climb most sharply in emerging markets and other developing nations where we forecast double-digit compounded annual growth rates due to aging populations, increasing wealth, and improving access to health care.

We forecast single-digit revenue growth in the US, Western Europe, and countries in our Other Wealthy Nations category due to availability of diverse pharmaceutical and procedure-based treatment options. Factors that will provide a market boost include more refined diagnostic tools that better identify dry eye’s mechanisms and newer procedure technologies.

Despite our forecast for healthy market growth, the dry eye treatments market continues to offer a mix of promise and disappointment—at least in part due to the complexity of the condition.
Dry eye itself is a challenge. This widespread, multifactorial condition can present as temporary irritation, a persistent and uncomfortable condition, or a chronic and debilitating disorder. Contributors to dry eye are diverse, and several may be present in a single dry eye patient. Among these contributors are aging, long hours of work or play in front of digital devices, use of some systemic medications, LASIK or contact lens wear, and the autoimmune disorder called Sjögren’s syndrome.

Reliable diagnosis can also be elusive. One of dry eye’s most vexing aspects involves the all-too-frequent disconnect between objective signs and subjective symptoms. This disconnect has created significant barriers for therapeutic candidates on the pathway to regulatory approval. For more than a decade, the US dry eye development pipeline has been littered with pharmaceutical candidates that failed to meet primary endpoints in late-stage clinical trials or otherwise fell short in FDA review.

However, in 2016, the US saw its first new pharmaceutical treatment in 13 years hit the ground running, with Shire’s Xiidra (lifitegrast). Allergan, maker of Restasis, has a new device, a neurostimulator, awaiting a final FDA nod after the company finalized its de novo application in July 2016. We expect new treatments in the major markets market by 2021, as many therapeutics are making their way through clinical trials.

There are three main segments within the dry eye market: procedures, over-the-counter (OTC) lubricants, and pharmaceuticals. We expect all segments to see healthy growth over the next five years, as global demand rises and patients have easier access to treatments.

Market Scope expects the newer dry eye procedures segment to produce robust double-digit growth in the over the next five years. While revenues in this segment will grow at a much faster pace than revenues in the Rx pharmaceutical segment, that growth will occur from a small base.

In its five years of availability, the TearScience LipiFlow procedure for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) has seen increasingly strong demand, despite its patient-pay pricing model. Additional MGD procedures have also been in use in recent years, as has Bio-Tissue’s amniotic membrane patch for damage caused by severe dry eye. Allergan’s new investigational procedure that stimulates tear production (True Tear, formerly Oculeve) is also very promising and may hit the market as soon as 2017. In the US, the proliferation of dedicated dry eye treatment centers has increased use of these newer procedures in recent years.

Three competitors currently dominate the dry eye treatments market. Allergan (Restasis) and Santen (with Hyalein, Diquas, and Ikervis) lead in the Rx pharmaceutical segment. Alcon (with Systane, Tears Naturale, and Bion Tears brands) leads in the OTC segment. Although the procedure segment currently represents 2.5 percent of dry eye market revenues, TearScience is the clear leader among competitors with newer dry eye procedure technologies, while several competitors vie for share in the small punctum plug portion of that segment.

Market Scope’s 2016 “Dry Eye Products Report” was published in December. For more information, contact us at 314-835-0600 or

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