"Dry eye" is a grossly inaccurate and misleading term. That is established fact and well accepted by the medical community, at least in theory. However, not all professionals agree on whether it should be renamed and if so whether DTS is the right name.
The original Delphi panel argued in favor of the term on the basis of, among other things, the following considerations:
- Not all dry eye patients actually have dry eyes, as opposed to lid margin disease, unstable tear film, etc.
- Continuing to use the term "dry eye" could "misdirect clinicians into thinking erroneously about its underlying cause, techniques for diagnosis, and proper treatment."
- The term DTS could help doctors and patients communicate better.
However, DTS also has its detractors. The September 2006 issue of Cornea included an editorial by three leading corneal specialists who argued that:
- The term "dry eye" is well recognized by both the profession and the public;
- Even if it's a misnomer in some sense, well, so is the word "stroke" which refers to three different types of events; and
- Donations to dry eye research would probably drop because of confusion if the term "dry eye" were no longer used;
- Trying to be precise is a good idea but not if it comes at the cost of confusing people.
I don't know about you, but I have never heard of a stroke patient complaining that the word "stroke" fails to convey the seriousness of what happened to them. I also think it's not common practice for physicians to write in their chart "Patient complained of having a stroke". I also have to kind of stretch my imagination pretty far to understand why replacing a dumb, inaccurate, innocuous sounding disease name with a meaningful, accurate, serious sounding disease name would have a negative impact on contributions to or interest in research.