The dry eye treatment LipiFlow is on the rise. Dry eye symptoms affect around 16 million Americans every year, according to the National Institutions of Health. For sufferers of the condition, symptoms can range from itchy and red eyes to symptoms that make daily tasks difficult.
While there are numerous dry eye treatments available to our Massachusetts patients, many find significant relief using LipiFlow, which is also known as the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. Read on to learn how the specialized heat treatment works and if you might be a good candidate for the safe and effective treatment.
How Does LipiFlow Work?
Before we describe how LipiFlow works, we need to briefly overview what causes dry eye symptoms. Proper eye function relies on a constant delivery of tears, which are comprised of water, lipids (oils), and mucus.
Dry eye results from eyes that do not produce the right types of tears or enough tears. Improper tear production and release can result from age, environmental factors, genetics, or other causes.
Eye treatment by LipiFlow releases blockages in the meibomian glands. These are the tiny glands that line the edges of the eyelids that touch when the eyelids are fully closed. When the glands fail to produce enough tears, a condition called meibomian glands dysfunction (MGD) results.
LipiFlow uses special eyepieces that are placed over the eyelids. The safe and effective devices deliver warm pressure that gently breaks down the gland blockages. As the blockages dissolve, normal gland function returns, and patients can enjoy alleviation from MGD symptoms.
A Step-By-Step Look at the Dry Eye Treatment LipiFlow
Before your treatment, a member of our team will ask you to remove contacts and makeup. We ask that our eye patients refrain from using eye drops, ointments, and creams for 24 hours before the treatment.
Preparing for the Treatment
Once you are ready to begin treatment, our optometrist will place a mild anesthetic in your eye. This prevents discomfort during the procedure. Someone will clean your eyelids as well.
The Dry Eye Treatment LipiFlow – Placing the Activators
Your optometrist will place LipiFlow activators onto each of your eyelids. As the treatment starts, you may notice a warm and gentle pressure on your eyes. The LipiFlow treatment runs through two six-minute cycles.
First, there is a warming phase. Then, there is a varied pulsating phase. The third cycle is a constant pressure phase.
Your optometrist will run the cycle twice to ensure that the blockages are significantly removed. Once 12 minutes have elapsed, your treatment will be complete.
When You Can Expect Relief from Dry Eyes
One of the benefits of this treatment is having zero recovery time. Once the treatment is complete, you are free to go about your business as usual. Over the following days, you will notice an elevation of dry eye symptoms.
LipiFlow offers long-term relief, but some patients require treatments at regular intervals that will be determined by your optometrist.
Am I a Good Candidate for LipiFlow?
Most of our patients who seek relief from dry eye symptoms are great candidates for LipiFlow. The first step requires setting up an eye examination and consultation with one of our All Eye Care doctors. We believe in providing personalized optical choices that fit your needs.
One of our optometrists or eye doctors will ask if you have been diagnosed with dry eye disease. This can be diagnosed through a proper eye exam at our office.
Another sign that you may be a good candidate for LipiFlow is a diagnosis of meibomian gland dysfunction. Age, gender, tobacco use, and BMI are all possible risk factors associated with MGD.
Common symptoms of MGD include:
- Feeling like something is stuck on the surface of your eyes
- A scratchy or burning sensation in your eyes
- Excessive water or mucus around your eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Difficulty wearing contacts
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
Our office offers a wide range of treatments in addition to LipFlow. If you have been living with the symptoms of MGD, one of our eye specialists can quickly diagnose your symptoms and offer treatment options that may include LipiFlow.
What Are My Dry Eye Treatment Alternatives?
Even when you try your best to prevent dry eye, some people are simply more prone to the condition. Still, you can try proven home remedies. If the tips below don’t work, it may be time to schedule an appointment with one of our eye specialists.
Buying a humidifier and keeping it in your bedroom or place of work can alleviate dry eye symptoms for some people, especially if those symptoms are mild. ACs and heaters can dry out the air, so a humidifier may be especially useful during hot and cold seasons.
Some of our patients find that taking time to rest their eyes helps. Prolonged focus on TV screens and computer monitors can strain eyes and leave them prone to drying out. Periodic breaks from screen time are helpful for a number of reasons.
Placing a warm compress over your eyes can also help restore natural tear function. Maintaining a diet that is rich in fatty acids can also be of benefit.
Schedule Your Dry Eye Treatment Today
LipiFlow is just one of several dry eye treatment options we offer. If you have lived with symptoms of dry eyes, there may be a more serious underlying condition inhibiting your eyes’ abilities to maintain proper tear flow. Only a careful examination at our office can properly diagnose your symptoms.
Ready to see if you are a candidate for safe and effective LipiFlow treatments? Give us a call or contact our office online today!