June 30, 2019
If you’ve been struggling with dry eyes, you know how painful and difficult this condition can be. Symptoms such as burning, scratchy eyes, light sensitivity, redness, blurry vision, eye fatigue, the feeling that something is trapped in your eye, excessive watering of the eyes and difficulty wearing contact lenses or driving at night can make getting through each day much more difficult than it needs to be. Most current treatments for dry eye focus on tear deficiency and reducing the inflammation typical of dry eye. On the whole these treatments are only successful for short periods of time, because they don’t treat the underlying cause of dry eyes.
Eighty-six percent of patients with these symptoms are diagnosed by an eye doctor with Meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD. Most dry eye symptoms are caused by blockages in the tiny Meibomian glands in your eyelids. These tiny glands are arranged in rows on the edge of each eyelid. Each lid contains between 20 and 40 glands. The glands produce an oily secretion that makes its way to the eyeball, where it settles in a thin layer over the natural tears that coat the eye. This layer “seals” the moisture from the tears against the eye, preventing the tears from evaporating. This enhances the performance of the tears, keeping the eyes moist. When these glands become blocked and the issue is not treated, the glands can atrophy, much as muscles do when not in use. This can present serious long-term problems, as once the glands stop functioning, there are few, if any, options for restoring them.
There are treatments you can do on your own to help keep your Meibomian glands clear, but in many ways, these treatments are like the daily brushing and flossing that you do for your teeth. These activities will help keep serious problems at bay, but more thorough professional assistance is needed to ensure that your teeth will last a lifetime. The same is true of your eyes, especially when you suffer from dry eye. In addition to the daily eyelid care you perform yourself, you can look to your eye care professional for special treatments that go the extra mile to prevent serious vision problems.
The eye doctors at Pro-Optix Eye Care want to help you combat dry eye with the latest treatment available for this condition – Lipiflow. The Lipiflow machine is a safe, effective method of combating dry eye that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Meibomian gland dysfunction. The Lipiflow machine is connected to a disposable pad. When placed on the eyelid, the pad heats the surface to a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit, causing a nice, warm sensation that is completely comfortable. The unit then massages the lid to clean and unplug the Meibomian glands. The treatment has been called a “spa day” for your eyes, and it only takes 12 minutes to complete.
Factors such as the severity of the condition, the level of patient self-care and environmental factors will determine if the patient will need more than one Lipiflow treatment. Few patients require re-treatment within a six month period, especially if they are consistent with home care. It is more common for patients to consider additional treatment after the first year. Although the Lipiflow procedure is not covered by vision savings plans, our optometrists offer financing options that will make this essential procedure available to those suffering from dry eye.
As the premier eye doctors to the Tanglewood/Galleria Area, Pro-Optix Eye Care is dedicated to keeping your eyes healthy. Just like the directors of tearjerker movies, we’re proud to say there isn’t a dry eye in the house!
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