Demodex Blepharitis Patients Report Unmet Needs, Survey Shows

Patients with Demodex blepharitis perceive their burden of illness as high, and say their needs go unmet.

Demodex blepharitis (Db) has a substantial burden of illness, according to findings of a patient survey presented at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) 2023 annual meeting, held in San Diego, CA, from May 5 to 8, 2023. The results show that management techniques employed to reduce the impact of Demodex blepharitis do not provide permanent symptom relief.

Preeya Gupta, MD — along with coauthors ​​Leslie O’Dell, OD, Vance Thompson, MD, Jeffrey Skaar, PhD, Nandini Hadker, MA, and Olivia Green, BA — presented the findings from the research into burden of the disease and the unmet needs of patients, including those with cataracts. 

The research team recruited 113 participants (age range 21 to 85 years) who self reported that they received a Demodex blepharitis diagnosis from a physician within the prior 6 months. Patients were divided into subgroups based on presence of cataracts (19%), contact lens use (30%), and dry eye disease (DED) (31%). They were then assessed on symptoms, healthcare resources use (HCRU), use of prescription medications, and the effect of Demodex blepharitis on their activities of daily living (ADL) and occupational abilities.

Patients reported substantial burden from Db and received management techniques that did not provide permanent symptom relief.

The patients reported a mean 3.9 annual provider visits for Db. About half visited urgent care for issues related to Demodex blepharitis. Of the 14 patients who were treated for cataracts, 7 reported that they had experienced delays in treatment or surgery because of their Demodex blepharitis.

Of the 34 patients who used contact lenses, 23 of them had difficulty wearing their contact lenses due to Demodex blepharitis. Another 71% reported that it impacts their driving, and 58% reported it affects their ability to work. 

Twenty-nine percent of patients said they were prescribed DED medications before they were diagnosed with Demodex blepharitis. The highest mean annual out-of-pocket costs occurred with in-office procedures ($368) and provider visits ($192).

“Patients reported substantial burden from Db and received management techniques that did not provide permanent symptom relief,” the investigators said.

Limitations of the study included possible self-report bias.

Disclosure: Multiple study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

References:

Gupta PK, O’Dell LE, Thompson VM, et al. Assessment of unmet needs in Demodex blepharitis using a burden of illness study. Poster presented at: American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery 2023; May 5-8, 2023; San Diego, CA. Poster 91624.