Shawn O’Neil of Sight Sciences discusses an innovative new approach to addressing Meibomian gland dysfunction.
Cara Moore: Hi everyone. Thanks for watching Optometry TV. I’m Cara Moore joined now by Shawn O’Neil with Sight Sciences. Thanks for being here.
Shawn O’Neil: Thank you for having me.
Cara Moore: And we’re here to talk about innovation in optometry, but more specifically Meibomian gland dysfunction and a new device that you have.
Shawn O’Neil: Yeah, we’re very excited to have launched their new devices this year called the Tear Care System. So, a Tear Care is an innovative new approach to addressing Meibomian gland dysfunction. As we know, there are numerous people diagnosed and undiagnosed every year with dry eye disease, so about 16 million in the United States and 86% of them have some component of Meibomian gland dysfunction. So we’re very excited to bring Tear Care to the market to help address a big need for those patients.
Cara Moore: So talk a little bit about the old way of doing things. And where did this need arise for this device?
Shawn O’Neil: Typically, Meibomian gland dysfunction is usually started with, you know, warm compresses so, kind of at home, you know, try and keep a warm compress on for enough time to liquefy the Meibomian in those glands. Meibomian gland dysfunction is obstructive disease and so you really want to get the right amount of heat for the right amount of time and then clear the meibome, the liquefied meibomian glands to get them to back to a more kind of functioning or homeostasis state. And so what we do is we take a approach where we’re really looking at the underlying physiology, placing the, what we call smart lids, which are the thermal component. Right on the exterior portion of the lid it’s targeting, all the glands on your upper and lower lids. And then that gets connected to what we call smart hub, which is the brains of the operation, where it’s going to talk to the smart lids 240 times a second to be able to make sure you have the right temperature for the right amount of time to really liquefy that meibome and then allow the doctor to go back through and manually clear the glands and really give a personalized approach to the patient to make sure all the glands that need attention are taken care of and cleared. And back to that state, that natural state.
Cara Moore: So a bit easier treatment wise for the patients. Right?
Shawn O’Neil: So where the patient benefit we believe really comes in, is this a nice experience for them since it’s all exterior. It’s more of a, what we refer to as a personalized Open Eye experience for the patient. So the patient not only can, you know, read their, their smart phone or talk and see people that are in the room with them from an experience standpoint, but also what it does is it allows the patient to take advantage of their natural blink mechanism. So during the procedure they’re blinking. So, as the, meibome is being liquefied, they’re already starting to use their natural blinking mechanism to move the meibome and really start to restore that layer for their chair film even during the, during the procedure.
Cara Moore: And I would imagine makes things a little bit easier for the practitioners too because when you talk about compliance with something like a compress at home, you’re not going to get the same results.
Shawn O’Neil: No, absolutely. So we all know we’re terrible patients at heart, right? They give us the list of things we’re supposed to do before we go to bed. And we were lucky to get, you know, one or two of them done. So the amount of time, so our treatment is 15 minutes. So you can imagine trying to keep a compress warm enough for that amount of time. Swapping in and out from the microwave is generally not something that is going to be handled in a very compliant way from a patient standpoint. So what we do is put it back in the Doctor’s hands, you know, bringing them into your office, giving them that personalized attention. Heat up their glands to the appropriate temperature for the appropriate time. And then, you know, make sure that you get those glands cleared out back to the state that you want.
Cara Moore: Okay. And it’s FDA has already given its approval, right?
Shawn O’Neil: it is, it is FDA listed right now. So we have been selling it since, basically March, April of this year, and we’re continuing to build up that user base, and also performing additional studies to continue to show the clinical benefits against signs and symptoms, as well. So that’ll be coming in the near future.
Cara Moore: I look forward to it, Shawn, thanks for being here.
Shawn O’Neil: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Cara Moore: Appreciate it. And thank you all for watching Optometry TV.