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Dry eyes are one of the most common conditions that can affect our eyes and is estimated to affect millions of Americans. As you’ve probably guessed, dry eyes occur when tears fail to provide enough natural lubrication for the eyes to be comfortable and healthy. Exactly what causes dry eyes can vary significantly, from side effects from medications to prolonged computer use. What is clear is that while the condition isn’t sight-threatening, it can make day to day life much harder than it needs to be. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help, and arguably one of the most effective is Lipiflow.
What is Lipiflow?
Lipiflow is a new technological solution that addresses the underlying cause of your dry eyes, rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is most effective at helping patients whose dry eyes are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction – a condition characterized by problems with the way that the meibomian glands produce the oil that forms an essential part of our tear film. The meibomian glands can become less productive, or in some cases, even blocked by hardened oil deposits. This prevents the oil from reaching your tear film, making it less effective. Lipiflow targets the meibomian glands, warming them to break down oily blockages and massaging your eyes to make sure that the oil, and then the tear film, is evenly dispersed. This helps to combat the symptoms associated with dry eyes, which can include:
Dry, scratchy and uncomfortable eyes
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if Lipiflow has the potential to be a suitable solution for your dry eyes.
Lipiflow treatment is a simple, painless process that is performed in the comfort of your eye doctor’s office. There is no need for anesthetic. Once you are settled in your chair, your eye doctor will open the sterile, single-use applicators which are placed over your eyes. These are connected to a machine that causes the inner eyelids to heat to approximately 42.5°C to, while simultaneously placing gentle pressure on the outer eyelid surfaces. Lipiflow takes around 12 minutes per eye, during which time you can relax. You can even listen to music if you’d like to. There is no downtime, and patients can return to their usual activities right away. It takes around 3 days for patients to begin to see an improvement in their dry eye symptoms, although they may require further treatment in the future to maintain them. Optimal results are usually achieved around 6 to 8 weeks following your Lipiflow treatment.
For more information about Lipiflow, or to schedule a consultation to talk about this treatment for dry eyes, please contact our office.