What Is LipiFlow®?

Did you know that over 20 million Americans suffer from dry eye? According to a study carried out in 2012, 86 percent of the participants who had dry eyes also presented symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction.


You might have heard that LipiFlow® is meant to treat dry eyes, and you are curious about how it works. LipiFlow uses heat to address meibomian gland dysfunction, one of the most prevalent causes of dry eye syndrome. It results from the blockage of the oil glands in the eyelids. LipiFlow eliminates these obstructions using thermal pulsation.


What Is MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction)?


The regular tear film in a human eye contains an aqueous layer, a mucin layer, and a lipid layer. Together, the layers efficiently keep the eye sufficiently lubricated. Meibomian glands at the edges of the eyelid are responsible for producing the lipid layer of the tear film.


When you have meibomian gland dysfunction, the glands get obstructed, resulting in a significant reduction in the quality of the lipid layer. When the quality of the lipid layer diminishes significantly, the tear film consequently evaporates too quickly, leaving the eye at the mercy of the elements. This is what causes dry eye.


You need to see an eye doctor who can correctly diagnose if MGD causes your dry eyes. There are several treatments available, but the most effective is LipiFlow. 


What Is LipiFlow?


Dr. Donald Korb and his colleagues at TearScience® invented LipiFlow. They designed the LipiFlow as a device to unclog the meibomian glands specifically. Because of how effective LipiFlow is in clearing the glands, it has become the standard treatment for MGD.


LipiFlow has a central console and a pair of activators attached to the console. It employs Vectored Thermal Pulsation technology in the design. The technology allows the activators to send heat pulses to the meibomian glands through the eyelids.


LipiFlow for Dry Eyes


LipiFlow directly addresses the root cause of MGD. It simultaneously uses heat and massage to help unclog the glands. The combination of heat and a massage is effective in unblocking the glands. 


The meibomian glands can resume the production and secretion of the lipid layer after successful LipiFlow treatment. It only takes one session for the meibomian glands to become completely clear.


LipiFlow Procedure


To begin the procedure, our doctors in Elkhorn will lead you to a reclining chair at the office. The doctor will apply anesthetic eye drops to your eyes to ensure the procedure is painless and clean your eyelids and the surface around them. Next, the activators will be attached to your eyelids.


During the treatment, you will feel gentle warmth pulsating from the activators. You will also feel mild pressure on your eyelids. Patients who have had the treatment describe it as a massage on the eyes.


How Long Does LipiFlow Take?


The entire procedure will last about 12 minutes, consisting of two different cycles of six minutes each. But if the case is severe, the doctor might perform more sessions.


For more on LipiFlow, call Omaha Primary Eye Care at 402-383-0780 to reach our office in Elkhorn, Nebraska.