Patients who suffer from dry, itchy eyes and experience pain, burning, blurry vision, or sensitivity to light are likely to have dry eye; a chronic condition affecting their tear ducts and tear production. Chronic Dry Eye is often caused by obstructed oil glands located in your eyelids, known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD. LipiFlow® addresses this issue at its core, focusing on opening and clearing blocked glands. The result is a quick, painless procedure that helps resume the natural production of oils, and therefore a healthy tear film.
Often, dry eyes are caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD. The Meibomian glands are located in the eyelids, depositing lipids on the eye's surface. This thin, oily layer protects the moisture in the eye. When the glands become blocked, the lipids can't get where they are needed, resulting in dry, irritated eyes.
The main cause of MGD is the prolonged use of screens. We tend to blink about half as often when we look at screens for an extended period. Lipids are delivered to our eyes when we blink, so when we don't refresh them by blinking, they thicken in the glands. Over time, this leads to blockages. MGD is also seen more often in postmenopausal women.
LipiFlow® is a unique procedure that restores the function of the Meibomian glands, so your eyes can work like they are supposed to. It doesn't just try to fix the symptoms of MGD; it addresses the core cause of the condition.
The proven LipiFlow® treatment is a simple 12-minute treatment completed in your doctor's office that can help improve gland function, thus maintaining the necessary protective oily layer to keep your eyes moist and healthy. LipiFlow® Activators are single-use sterile devices that safely and comfortably deliver a combination of heat to the inner lids and simultaneous therapeutic massage to the outer lids, removing blockages from the Meibomian glands. As a result of removing gland obstructions, your glands are then able to produce the oils essential in protecting your eyes from progressive Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Learn more with SouthWest Eye Care.
How Does LipiFlow® Work?
Once it's been determined that you have MGD and that LipiFlow® is the best option, the procedure can address the problem in three easy steps.
First, numbing drops are applied to the eye to ensure you are comfortable during the procedure. Next, the activators are placed on your eyes. These disposable, dome-shaped devices protect your corneas and provide mild pressure to your eyelids.
The activators send gentle heat, known as Vector Thermal Pulsation, into the glands in your inner eyelids. The heat liquefies the obstructions, and the pressure massages the blocked areas so the glands can function like they used to.
The procedure generally takes about 12 minutes to complete.
Does LipiFlow® Hurt?
Some people report mild pain or discomfort, but most find the procedure to be a comfortable and even soothing process. The heat and pressure that are applied are very gentle.
What Are the Benefits of LipiFlow®?
When the Meibomian gland becomes blocked, the lipids that usually keep the eye's surface moisturized are trapped. Without that lipid layer, tears evaporate very quickly, leaving the eyes dry and irritated.
Instead of trying to replace that lipid barrier artificially, LipiFlow® clears away the blockages so that the glands can restore a healthy barrier. With the function of the Meibomian glands restored, your eyes can naturally stay healthy and moisturized without artificial tears.
What Is the Recovery Time After LipiFlow®?
You can return to all activities immediately after LipiFlow®. There is no impact on your vision, and no downtime is required.
How Long Does it Take to See Results?
Some people experience an improvement in their symptoms immediately, while others see changes in a few weeks. Generally, it will take four to six weeks to see the full results. Some people may need multiple sessions to see the full benefits, and others might need to repeat the procedure annually.
Is LipiFlow® Right for You?
If you are suffering from dry eyes and live in the Albuquerque area, see the experts at Southwest Eye Care and find out if LipiFlow® can help you. For more information about the procedure and other ways, we can help you keep your eyes healthy, contact us today.
Image credit: MaximP / Shutterstock