Are your eyes bothering you? Not just the
occasional dryness or redness, but regular discomfort and irritation that can get in
the way of living your normal life? You may have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or Evaporative
Dry Eye. Think about the treatments you’ve tried in the past to get some relief, and
think about the compromises you have to make every day, and the lifestyle issues you face.
Maybe it’s not wearing contact lenses, or limiting your computer time. Even just reading
a book or enjoying a breezy spring day may be out of the question. Any of this sound
familiar? If so, you should know that eye experts have recently made great strides in
understanding Evaporative Dry Eye. And with the introduction of the breakthrough technology
in the LipiFlow system, it may be possible to make the discomfort, inconvenience and
limitations of evaporative dry eye a thing of the past. Your tears are made up of three
layers: the mucin layer that adheres to the eye, the aqueous, or water layer and the lipid
or oil layer, which lubricates and prevents evaporation. Until now, much of the focus
of dry eye treatment has been on supplementing the tear film with the use of drops and ointments,
however, 65% of patients with dry eye symptoms actually suffer from evaporative dry eye.
The lipid layer is created by meibomian glands in the eyelid. When you blink, pressure is
put on the glands and lipids are released. Evaporative dry eye disease is most often
caused by a blockage or obstruction in these glands called meibomian gland dysfunction,
which can lead to a lipid deficiency in the tears and cause symptoms such as watering,
gritty feeling in the eyes and itching. To treat the blocked glands, your physician may
have directed you to apply heat near the meibomian gland by using warm compresses on your eye
lids. However, the tarsal plate, a layer of cartilage that provides natural protection
around the eye, effectively prevents this heat from reaching the gland. With the breakthrough
LipiFlow system, your doctor now has a new way to treat meibomian gland dysfunction or
evaporative dry eye. And if your doctor determines you are a good candidate for LipiFlow treatment,
he or she can take advantage of this technology to treat you right in his or her office. Unlike
warm compresses, the LipiFlow system applies a combination of heat from the inside of the
lid, near the meibomian glands and gentle pressure on the outside of the lid, designed
to liquefy blockages in the glands. LipiFlow is entirely different from any other treatment
we’ve had before for meibomian gland disease because it gives exactly the treatment that’s
needed, right where it’s needed. We take heat, and we put pressure right on the meibomian
glands to epress those glands and to remove the inspisated secretions that are blocking
the flow, and it restores natural flow in a very natural way. What we’re achieving
with the LipiFlow is applying the heat very precisely to that area that needs it the most.
On average, LipiFlow patients had a statistically significant improvement in their symptoms.
It was horribly uncomfortable, a feeling like my eyes were scratched, I couldn’t where
my contacts much, I was continually putting drops in, I just had so many problems with
my eyes, it was brutal. It’s made a huge difference, I now only use drops once in a
blue moon, I can wear my contacts, it’s very exciting. This has made a huge, huge
difference. By the end of the day wearing contact lenses my eyes were uncomfortable.
Pretty much every evening I used some kind of eye drop to ease the burning and discomfort.
After the treatment, I realized I hadn’t needed to put eye drops in at the end of the
day. And we finally have a treatment that can be done as an outpatient, in the physician’s
office, delivered by the physician and their assistants to give patients a meaningful improvement
in their disease. In a clinical study at four weeks after treatment, 79% of patients reported
improvement in dry eye symptoms. To determine if you are a candidate for LipiFlow treatment,
your doctor will examine the meibomian gland openings in your eyelids. The LipiView allows
us to document over time an evaluation of the tear film. The LipiView takes approximately
20 seconds of video of your eye during a non-invasive in office exam that lasts less than five minutes.
This is really a new step in the direction of assessing the quality of someone’s tears,
before the damage is done. With the introduction of LipiFlow technology, effective treatment
of evaporative dry eye is possible. This treatment is going to revolutionize the management of
these patients. Patients that really are quite desperate from a process that has developed
over the past several decades where we just really have not had effective treatment to
offer them until now. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask for a LipiFlow
brochure, it could be the first step on your journey toward breakthrough relief.