Million+ Patients Helped

Dry Eye Disease Oculeve

Michael Ackermann

Co-Founder & CEO

Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2010-11

"I wouldn’t say that I founded Oculeve to help my mom. But when my Biodesign Innovation Fellowship team started working in the area of dry eye disease – on the project that ultimately led to the creation of the company – she was happy that someone was finally dedicated to finding a better solution. My mom had suffered from dry eye for as long as I could remember. I recall her carrying around vials of eye drops, experimenting with different medications, and even undergoing a procedure to permanently cauterize her tear ducts to help her retain what little moisture her eyes were naturally producing. But none of these alternatives provided any real, long-term relief.

Dry eye affects nearly 30 million people in the US. At best, it’s uncomfortable. At worst, it causes visual impairment and incapacitating pain. As my team and I worked to develop and test our solution, we encountered so many other people whose quality of life was compromised by dry eye. I remember one young woman in particular. She was struggling with an autoimmune condition that contributed to a horrifically severe case of dry eye disease. On the day I met her, she had come to the clinic to have her eyelids partially sewn shut. The procedure was intended to reduce the surface area of her eyes so that less lubrication would be required from her under-performing lacrimal glands. But she was just a teenager, and I couldn’t help but think how this procedure would negatively impact other aspects of her life. It was astounding to me that there was nothing else that could be done.

Ultimately, we developed an easy-to-use, non-invasive approach for treating dry eye. And I’m happy to report that my mom was able to benefit from our solution. It’s incredibly gratifying to know that she and thousands of patients like her are now getting relief from dry eye without the need for surgery or other invasive techniques."

Dry Eye Disease


“I wouldn’t say that I founded Oculeve to help my mom. But ... I’m happy to report that [she] was able to benefit from our solution.”

Oculeve has developed a non-invasive nasal neurostimulation device that increases tear production in patients with dry eye disease. The company was acquired by Allergan plc in 2015.

Disclaimer of Endorsement: All references to specific products, companies, or services, including links to external sites, are for educational purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement by the Byers Center for Biodesign or Stanford University.

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