What if there was a therapy that could cut dry eye disease (DED) symptoms in half, improve tear secretion three-fold, and be sustainable for a year, all from one dose?
“That therapy is already here, and it’s call LipiFlow,” said Joseph Boorady, president and chief executive officer of TearScience. The privately held company recently completed Series D financing and has a new management team.
The Food and Drug Administration-approved device has been proven safe and since 2011 has been used on more than 150,000 eyes, Boorady said.
The reason why the device has been so effective is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which “represents the largest untapped market in DED,” he continued. With more than 30 million people with DED, each clinician’s office “sees an average of 8 to 10 cases of MGD daily.”
Treating MGD is not new – the health of these glands and their relationship to a healthy ocular surface have been discussed as early as the mid-1940s. But warm compresses and manual expression had remained the stalwarts of therapy.
“LipiFlow is clinically more effective and more convenient,” Boorady said. “To effectively treat MGD, you must heat and express simultaneously.” LipiFlow applies both heat and pressure directly to the inner eyelid for 12 minutes during an office-based treatment. “It’s like a spa day for patients,” Boorady joked.
A recent published study showed a single LipiFlow treatment improved gland function and DED symptoms for 12 months in 404 patients. The mean score on lipid production tripled from 6.4 to 17.3 at 12 months. Patients reported improved symptoms on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) Questionnaire with the single treatment and no adjunctive therapy.
Boorady said the implications are greatest for cataract patients with concurrent MGD. LipiFlow may also improve contact lens wearing time in patients with MGD.
The company’s LipiScan device offers “rapid MGD detection,” Boorady said; TearScience “sold more of these devices at ASCRS this year than we did in all of 2014.”
Joe Boorady serves as President and CEO of TearScience and has spent over 20 years in the ophthalmic industry as an executive.