project: helpline

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The mental health impact of dry eye

The mental health impact of dry eye disease is unexpected, severe, widespread, poorly understood, and sometimes dangerous.

That, at any rate, is my personal belief after fielding calls for more than fifteen years from dry eye and corneal pain patients who have plumbed depths of depression they never knew existed, been menaced by anguish and anxiety that seemed disproportionate to the cause, or been shaken to their core by an unwelcome visitor called suicidal ideation.

In my experience, these particular scourges do not discriminate by socioeconomic status, age, education, personality, or prior history of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.

My concern over this has been mounting for years, and it was already high on the priority list for our newly incorporated Dry Eye Foundation last autumn when press reports of two suicides increased the sense of urgency.

What can we do?

My dreams include things like a crisis phone and text line, and a peer mentoring model.

But… before anything else, we have to do some homework on the nature of the problem.

Step 1: Tapping the experts

Patient Questionnaire (Timing TBA)

It is our belief that the best ideas for solutions will always come from the people who have experienced the problem. If you have experienced depression or anxiety from dry eye disease, you are an expert we need to hear from in order to get a better understanding of the real needs.

We are working on a questionnaire where we will be asking you to anonymously share some basic information about your relevant experiences and about anything you feel would have or could have helped you through your hardest times. We’ll announce it on the blog, social media and newsletter when it’s ready.

Calling all mental health professionals with dry eye

Meantime, we want to build a team of mental health professionals who have an exceptional understanding of the unique issues faced by dry eye patients based on their own eye disease experiences.

If that describes you, and if you are willing to lend some time and expertise to helping us wade through information, problems, solutions and issues, please contact us.