Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Best-Selling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard Helps to Raise Awareness of Dry Eye with the Dry Eye Book Club and Top 10 Tear-Jerker Book List

PRNewswire/ -- Best-selling author of The Deep End of the Ocean and dry eye sufferer Jacquelyn Mitchard today teamed up with the Red Hot Mamas(R), the nation's largest menopause management education organization, and Allergan, Inc., a global health care leader in eye care, to unveil the Top 10 Tear-Jerker Book List and launch the Dry Eye Book Club, a national health education campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness among women, who are disproportionately affected by dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by aging and menopause (2), about the impact dry eye can have on everyday activities like reading.

Women read nearly twice as much as men according to an Associated Press poll, (3) however in a recent national survey of 371 women ages 45-65 who regularly experience at least one dry eye symptom, many revealed their dry eye symptoms have caused them to experience difficulty with activities such as reading (50 percent) and using a computer (42 percent).(4)

"For almost a decade, I lived with blurred vision, irritation and itchy, dry eyes. Although not life threatening, as an author, mother of seven and avid reader, difficulty reading and using the computer to write just wasn't an option in my life," said Mitchard. "It took me too long to talk to my eye doctor about my symptoms, to be diagnosed with chronic dry eye and to find an effective treatment. I want women to know that chronic dry eye is a medical condition that should be taken seriously and discussed with an eye doctor."

Despite the impact of dry eye on daily activities, 75 percent of the 371 women surveyed who experienced dry eye symptoms reported that they had not visited an eye doctor to seek relief, for reasons including, "my symptoms are just something that I have to live with."(4)

"Women are twice as likely as men to suffer dry eye(5) because of hormonal factors," said Karen Giblin, president of Red Hot Mamas(R). "The Red Hot Mamas is dedicated to empowering women to become educated health care consumers and active participants in their overall health and menopause management."

Tears provide nourishment and protection to the surface of the eyes. Dry eye occurs when changes to the health of the tear-producing glands affect the quantity and quality of tears produced, which in turn affects the health of the eyes. Artificial tears are often used to relieve the symptoms of dry eye temporarily.

"If left untreated, dry eye can progress and lead to more serious vision problems," said Marguerite McDonald, MD, FACS, Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island and clinical professor of ophthalmology at New York University. "It's important to speak with an eye doctor who can diagnose chronic dry eye, and if appropriate, may recommend adding a prescription therapy, such as RESTASIS(R), to increase tear production that may be suppressed by inflammation due to chronic dry eye."

To raise awareness of dry eye and the importance of tears, 325 people across the country experiencing dry eye symptoms voted on the Top 10 Tear-Jerker Book List, which includes stories that bring tears to their eyes (full list at end of release). Mitchard and the Red Hot Mamas encourage women to visit to join the Dry Eye Book Club, learn about dry eye and treatment options, and follow along as Mitchard makes her way through the Top 10 Tear-Jerker Book List.

In addition to the Top 10 Tear-Jerker Book List, The site also offers a quiz for women to see if they may have dry eye, questions to help start a conversation with their eye doctor and information about dry eye symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment options and long-term effects. One hundred visitors who register on the Web site will have a chance to win a signed copy of Jacquelyn Mitchard's best-selling book, The Deep End of the Ocean.

The Dry Eye Book Club is an educational initiative sponsored by Allergan, Inc.

Top 10 Tear-Jerker Book List
1. The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank (Annelise Marie Frank)

2. Love Story, Erich Segal

3. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

4. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

5. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

6. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt

7. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

8. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker

10. The Deep End of the Ocean, Jacquelyn Mitchard

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