There is a critter, called a demodex mite, that, according to the National Institutes of Health, is “the most common microscopic ectoparasite found in the human skin.” But that’s not all, once these mites move in, by the time you are 70 years old, you will have a 100% infection rate. They bring skin irritations and so on, but occasionally, these mites will take up residence in the eyelash canals, causing blepharitis. Ocular demodex mites are one of many causes of blepharitis, not the only cause.

A swollen and red-rimmed eye.

Photo Credit: Andre Riemann

Blepharitis is a condition where the edges of your eyelids become inflamed. They itch and burn, can cause watery or dry eyes, and create crusty sections on the lower eyelid that are hard to remove. Traditionally, treating blepharitis caused by demodex mites entails keeping the eyelid clean with warm compresses and special soaps, and if needed, antibiotics or steroids. In other words, doctors could only bring relief to the symptoms, not the cure to the problem.

But that’s all about to change because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced late in July their approval of a new drug called XDEMVY. This is the first medication of its kind targeting demodex blepharitis specifically, not just the symptoms, allowing eye-care professionals to eradicate the mites themselves. It’s given in eye-drop form and treatment usually lasts about six weeks, depending on your situation.

The drug will be available this month. So if you’ve been diagnosed with demodex blepharitis in the past, please schedule an appointment with Drs. Cheryl or Dave, to get this problem solved!