New eye treatment for demodex blepharitis

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CHARLOTTE, NC — Patients across North Carolina could soon benefit from a new treatment for a common eye disease.

What do you want to know

  • Demodex blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids and causes severe itching and dry eyes
  • Dr Patrick Vollmer says the disease could affect up to 25 million people in the United States
  • Currently there are not many treatments for this condition
  • Treatment in third and final stage of clinical trials shows great promise

Michael Kiser loves detailing cars. But the hobby soon became a challenge as it required her to be outdoors. Kiser has struggled with red, itchy eyes for several years. Elements like wind and pollen often aggravated his eyes.

“I went out to lunch one day with my pastor, and he made the comment, ‘Mike, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought you were drinking because your eyes are so red,'” Kiser said.

Kiser knew he had to do something about it. A former doctor told him he had glaucoma, but Shelby’s optometrist, Dr. Patrick Vollmer, didn’t think that was the correct diagnosis. Instead, he thought Kiser had demodex blepharitis.

“Demodex blepharitis is a very common eye infection in humans,” Kiser said. “It’s actually the most common ectoparasite found on eyelashes and the human body.”

Vollmer noticed ruffs on Kiser’s eyelids, which is a waxy material at the base of the eyelids. It is caused by an infestation of microscopic mites. There aren’t many treatments for it, but Vollmer was excited to tell her about a new therapy in the third and final phase of clinical trials.

“The company had very good data showing that their drug was effective,” Vollmer said.

Vollmer enrolled Kiser in the study conducted by Tarsus Pharmaceuticals. This involved taking eye drops twice a day.

“It was very easy and it was just simple eye drops that go into your eyes,” Kiser said.

Kiser isn’t sure if he got the real eye drops or the placebo, but he says his eyes feel much better.

“There were times when I could tell the difference right off the bat, and it was more soothing to the eyes,” Kiser said.

He is optimistic and says eye drops like this could help many people get back to their daily lives.

“Everyone wants to have clear eyes,” Kiser said. “Don’t burn yourself or scratch your eyes all the time. If this clinical trial could help that, it could help a lot of people. »

Tarsus Pharmaceuticals claims that during the six-week trial, there were no serious side effects. But in rare cases, less than 10%, patients experienced mild temporary eye irritation after taking the drops. Clinical trials for these eye drops are now complete and the company is seeking FDA approval. He hopes to make it widely available in 2023.

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