Tarsus Pharmaceuticals is tackling a common eyelid condition that affects millions of Americans as part of its recently launched Look at the Lids campaign.

The educational effort targets demodex blepharitis, an eye condition caused by demodex mites and results in eyelid inflammation, redness and ocular irritation. The discomforting condition affects an estimated 25 million Americans.

Collarettes, a waxy debris composed of discarded mite waste and eggs, are often found on the eyelid as a sign of demodex blepharitis. 

Photo credit: Roberto Gonzalez-Salinas, MD.

Look at the Lids urges eye care professionals to screen for the condition in all patients as part of an effort to diagnose and treat the disease sooner. 

Tarsus is unveiling the campaign at two industry events: the 2022 American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting as well as the American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting. 

At both functions, Tarsus has an interactive exhibit booth that will create a virtual tattoo on the eyelids of attendees and allow them to see what collarettes that cause demodex blepharitis look like. Eye care professionals will also be able to add their own eyelid photos to a real-time video wall.

Tarsus CEO Bobak Azamian, MD, PhD said Look at the Lids focuses on the importance of behavior change in doctors by identifying the root causes of demodex blepharitis. Emphasizing the visual aspects of the condition and diagnosing accordingly leads to earlier and more effective treatment, according to Azamian. 

“We’re asking doctors to look down because in a standard exam, we know that if patients have collarettes, they will have demodex blepharitis,” he said. “It’s a patient-focused campaign by having doctors look at the key signs of this disease in order to diagnose this disease.”

Photo credit: Paul Karpecki, OD.

Azamian added that Tarsus is seeking to combat the condition with diagnostics as well as the promise of TP-03, the company’s novel, investigational therapeutic that is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration. 

He noted that while some may overlook eye care as an aspect of healthcare, the risks associated with deteriorating vision can be costly for patients.

“What I came to realize in my time as a physician, investor and entrepreneur is that if we don’t have our eyesight, not much else really matters,” he said. “It’s an important part of the pharmaceutical industry, especially with an aging population, where we’re going to have more and more focus on the diseases affecting our eyes. Symptoms will range from how much patients can see, to whether their eyes feel good to whether they are able to see at all. That’s the range of considerations that pharma companies in our space are going after.”

Beyond Look at the Lids, Tarsus recently named Scott Morrison, who has served in various leadership roles at Ernst & Young over the past 20 years, as a member of its board of directors and chair of the audit committee.