This month, we focus on Ocusoft, Inc., a company best known as a leader and innovator in eyelid hygiene to help manage dry eye. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Cynthia Barratt, President/CEO of Ocusoft.
Ms. Barratt, please tell us about your company in terms of its history and direction.
Ocusoft is an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company founded 32 years ago by myself and Nat G. Adkins Jr., with a vision to develop innovative solutions to address the needs of those suffering from ocular surface disease.
We started in an office complex with 350 square feet of space; today, we have a 72,000-square-foot, 18-acre complex in Rosenberg, TX, and we’re currently adding another 55,000 square feet to our campus. This expansion has all been financed by our growth. We originally had representatives only out in the field. But about 20 years ago, we developed an inside sales force to meet and greet with the people whom we can’t physically reach. Of our 160 employees, 40 are out in the field and 35 are inside sales customer service representatives.
We have been named a top workplace by the Houston Chronicle for the last eight years. What makes me so proud of this is that it’s an anonymous survey conducted by an independent firm in which the employees rate the company, so that makes the honor even more impactful.
Tell us about any new products or new developments in which Ocusoft is involved.
Our newest line is the Oust Demodex products. We have a foam and a pre-moistened pad for at-home patient use. We also offer an Oust Demodex Swabstix that is an in-office cleanser consisting of a polypropylene handle with a PVA sponge filled with a 50% tea tree oil and sea buckthorn oil solution.
The newest addition to our lid scrub family is Ocusoft Lid Scrub Platinum. It includes an anti-inflammatory component, so it is recommended not only for managing blepharitis, but also for patients who have ocular rosacea.
We also now offer the Zoria line of cosmetics for the eyecare market, which includes products for use on the eyelids and the skin around the eyes as well as the eyelashes to enhance the look of fuller lashes. They are all drug free, so they cause no side effects with use. The Zoria line includes products for sensitive-eye wearers as well, including mascara and eye makeup remover.
Tell us your vision for the dry eye field in the short term (less than 5 years) and in the long term (20 years from now).
In the short term, it seems that everybody is working on a prescription drug for dry eye. Some are expensive, which can be a barrier for patients. And the prescription drugs don’t always provide relief. Many think that we will someday have a dry eye cure-all, but in my opinion—with medication side effects and environmental conditions—I don’t think that we’re going to see the end of dry eye. I do think that there are places in the market for new-generation dry eye therapies.
Over the longer term, I think that as technology evolves and more instrumentation to better diagnose and manage dry eye comes to market, then in-office treatment of dry eye will continue to improve. And I think that there will also be even better over-the-counter (OTC) products to challenge prescription products on the market. As technology advances in the drug space, it advances in the OTC space as well.
But in the long run, it all goes back to keeping those lids and lashes clean. This is especially critical for contact lens wearers, but there’s honestly no one who couldn’t benefit from proper lid hygiene. To improve dry eye conditions, it does start with the lashes and the lids. The quality of any patient’s life can be vastly improved with simple ocular hygiene. CLS