LipiFlow – Advanced Treatment
Do your eyes frequently feel irritated, sandy and dry? Does clear vision come and go, especially when on the computer, when reading, or late in the day? Has using moisture drops, medicated drops or warm compresses not done enough to help? Then you may have a chronic condition referred to as Evaporative Dry Eye Disease.
Evaporative Dry Eye Disease occurs when the water component of tears evaporates too quickly due to a problem with the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film. This deficiency of lipids usually results from a blockage or poor production of the oil-producing glands in the eyelids. This is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
MGD is a progressive disease and can lead to meibomian gland atrophy or loss. Successful treatment of MGD often requires removal of the gland obstructions.
LipiFlow Treatment May Be For You
For many patients, LipiFlow means relief. In a recent clinical study, 79% of patients reported improvement of their overall dry eye symptoms within 4 weeks (ranging from 10% – 100%) following a single LipiFlow treatment.
So What Is LipiFlow?
The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is the only FDA-approved device for treating Evaporative Dry Eye caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). The treatment opens and clears blocked meibomian glands. This allows the glands to resume their natural production of lipids (oils) which helps reestablish the tear film. This improved tear film is what helps dry eye sufferers feel and see better.
How Does LipiFlow Work?
LipiFlow uses thermal pulsation which allows precisely controlled heat to reach the inner eyelid where the meibomian glands reside, while also performing mild, intermittent directional pressure. Together, the precise heat and gentle pressure help unblock and clear the meibomian glands on both the upper and lower eyelids.
The procedure utilizes a sophisticated single-use device with built-in sensors to ensure a safe, sterile treatment.
What To Expect After LipiFlow Treatment?
There is no down-time or recovery period after the procedure. Vision may be slightly fuzzy for a few minutes as your tear film recovers. Although some patients notice improvement in symptoms right away, this is not the norm. A more likely outcome will be improvement within 4-8 weeks as the ocular surface normalizes. Another study showed that 90% of patients had significant symptom relief (a 50% improvement) by their 8 week follow-up. It has also been shown that further improvement can be seen at 6 months. Although it is hopeful that everyone will see improvement, some patients with severe disease may not. With severe disease, the goal of treatment will be to stop its progression.
How Long Does The Benefit Of LipiFlow Treatment Last?
Although some patients may like and benefit from re-treatment, studies and experience have shown that benefits from a single treatment can last 1 – 4+ years.
Because LipiFlow is not a cure and MGD is chronic and progressive, our doctors will discuss with you ways that you can help manage your disease. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of drops, ointments/gels and omega-3 supplements in addition to lid washes, use of warm compresses and blinking exercises.
This Sounds Encouraging – What’s Next?
You can schedule what we call an Ocular Surface Disease Evaluation with any of our doctors. During that visit, the doctor will utilize tests and specialized equipment to examine your meibomian glands, tear layer, and eyelid structure as well as your cornea and eyeball itself.
After this evaluation, a treatment plan will be outlined that may, or may not, include LipiFlow treatment. Every patient is unique, and you will be presented with the best treatment options for you.
If you have questions, or want to schedule an appointment, call: (303) 665-7797