For our eyes to remain healthy, they should remain hydrated and for this reason, we have natural tear film. Tear film is made from a complex combination of water, proteins and oils and helps to keep our eyes supple, mobile and functioning as they should. Dry eye disease occurs when our eyes begin to become less effective at remaining hydrated. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but advancing age is one of the most common. Dry eye disease can also be caused by problems with the glands that are responsible for producing the oils and water that are used in tear film.
As you might expect, the effects of dry eye disease can be debilitating with symptoms including dry, itchy, irritated eyes, a feeling that something is lodged in your eye and blurred vision. Although some cases of dry eye disease will resolve themselves, other patients may find that their symptoms are chronic or recurrent. In these instances, the symptoms of dry eye are often caused by issues with the glands responsible for producing tear film to lubricate our eyes – the Meibomian glands.
Lipiflow, or the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, is a highly successful treatment for dry eye disease. It is also the only electronic device cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Meibomian gland dysfunction – one of the most common causes of dry eye disease.
The treatment itself involves the use of vectored thermal pulsation technology which delivers a gentle massage and a patented algorithm of precise heat. These are combined and applied to the inner and outer eyelids so that blockages from the Meibomian glands can be safely and effectively removed.
By eliminating blockages in the Meibomian glands, they will be able to start functioning properly again, producing the oils that comprise of the top protective lipid layer of the tear film.
The Lipiflow process is very simple and straightforward. Firstly, single-use, sterile devices known as activators are placed under and over the eyelids. These are especially contoured so they do not have any direct contact with the surface of the eye itself, but instead, the therapy is only directed at the eyelids. The placement of the LipiflowÒ device may feel unusual, but it shouldn’t be painful.
Once in place, the activators are switched on and you will feel a gentle, warm, pulsing sensation across your eyelids. Each Lipiflow treatment takes about just 12 minutes to perform. The process is painless, and patients often prefer the treatment laying down, relaxing and having their eyelids gently massaged. After your treatment, you will be able to return to your usual daily activities immediately.
Although some patients may only require one session of Lipiflow treatment, our optometry team may recommend several sessions to help achieve the best results.
Although it is possible to see some improvement in the symptoms of dry eye disease within a few days of your Lipiflow treatment, it can take weeks for normal gland function to resume. This means that it is not uncommon to see progressive improvement over a number of weeks. In most instances, optimal results are reached between six and eight weeks after the Lipiflow treatment.
If you would like to learn more about the possible treatment options for dry eye, including the Lipiflow thermal pulsation system, please don’t hesitate to contact our Optometrist in Omaha, NE at Omaha Primary EyeCare by calling 402-330-3000 today.