Lumenis Vision’s efforts to increase awareness of its OptiLight light-based treatment for dry eyes face two challenges shared by medications for other common ailments: A widespread feeling of resignation and a misconception that patients’ only option is simply to live with it.

To hear the company tell it, an estimated 49 million Americans suffer from dry eye, only half of whom are diagnosed. The group cuts across many demographics. While one of the few common factors has long been age — the condition is more prevalent beginning at age 40 — the number of younger patients is increasing (OptiLight is indicated for patients 22 and older). Dry eye is also increasingly diagnosed among men.

In order to reach this broad cross-section of Americans, OptiLight reached out to an ambassador with wide appeal: singer and actor Mandy Moore. The message from the star of “This Is Us” for dry-eye sufferers: I am one of you.

“We looked at other ambassadors and other A-listers, but Mandy was the perfect fit,” said Lumenis Vision managing director Itay Mayer. “To start with, she suffers from dry eye. Second, since this condition is super prevalent, we wanted someone who was a household name, who was very credible and who people can trust and understand. Mandy is basically an all-American woman.”

Mandy Moore

The spot that Moore stars in, and the accompanying digital and print media campaign, is built around an empowerment theme: “Not Going to Live With It.” Moore’s experience of relying on eye drops to treat the symptoms — without addressing the cause of dry eye — is a common one, Mayer noted.

“We are taking a broader view, creating awareness of dry eye as a disease,” he explained. “If you don’t treat it, the condition will only worsen.” The deterioration of the meibomian glands, which are essential to the production of tears, can be irreversible.

The direct-to-consumer campaign has been paired with one targeting ophthalmologists and optometrists, designed to share information about the treatment and the technology behind it. There’s also an earned media component centered on the stories of non-famous dry eye patients.

While the campaign is still in its early days — the Moore spot debuted on February 8 — Mayer believes it has already started to resonate among both consumer and HCP audiences.

“We did see traction in terms of the press release views,” he said. “For our previous campaign we gained over five million views for our YouTube videos. We are expecting much more from this campaign now that we have Mandy Moore as our ambassador.”

Not surprisingly, Mayer views the campaign as important beyond its promotion of the OptiLight brand.

“We want people to live better and feel better,” he continued. “The way we see it, it’s not only about OptiLight. It is also about creating awareness of the condition.”