Before we dive into treatment options, what is Dry eye? Dry eye is a medical condition with health and lifestyle consequences if left untreated. There are two primary forms of Dry Eye: Evaporative -which is associated with deficiency in the oily layer of your tears) and Aqueous Deficient (which is associated with deficiency in the watery layer of tears. As part of our Dry Eye Evaluation, our doctor will use several tests to assess and identify the root cause of your Dry Eye symptoms and recommend the best treatment options for you. These may include prescriptions like Restasis®, Xiidra® or Lotemax® but can also include hot compresses, lid gland expression, oral and topical Omega-3 supplements, dietary changes, and co-management with your PCP, among other treatment options. Artificial tear can help with symptom relief but do not treat the disease.
It is estimated that 85% of the patients diagnosed with Dry eye have Meibomian gland dysfunction. What are meibomian glands? A. Meibomian glands are the oil producing glands of your eye lids. If these glands do not produce enough oil, become blocked, or die off, it may contribute to your symptoms of dry eye.
Symptoms of Dry eye include: dryness, burning, itching, stickiness, watering, light sensitivity, red eyes, styes, and intermittent blurred vision. If you think you may have dry eye schedule an appointment for a full evaluation. We are always looking at new technology and are adding a new treatment and evaluation tool to our eye center. We are adding Lipiview® and Lipiflow®.
LipiView®ii is a new assessment technology that allows the doctor to evaluate the lipid (oil) layer on your eyes and scans the meibomian glands for function. This assessment is part of the process to identify the root cause of your Dry Eye. Our doctor’s recommendations for treatment will be based on a full evaluation of the cause of your Dry Eye Condition.
LipiFlow® is a cutting-edge treatment for Evaporative Dry Eye. LipiFlow® is a thermal eyelid massage that applies consistent, comfortable heat to your eyelids. It also provides gentle, pulsating pressure to your eyelids to massage out the liquefied blockages of your meibomian glands. During the procedure, the LipiFlow® Activator (disposable) is inserted under your lower and upper eye lid. It is shaped to prevent contact with the cornea, or front surface of your eye. Once in place, you simply recline in the treatment chair for the procedure. The LipiFlow® procedure lasts 12 minutes. In a clinical study, 79% of patients reported improved overall dry eye symptoms (ranging from 10% to 100% improvement) within four weeks of a single LipiFlow® treatment. Results may vary depending on factors that our doctor will discuss with you during your Dry Eye Evaluation before pursuing treatment.
If you are struggling with dry eye call us and schedule an evaluation for this unfortunately common medical eye disease.
Torrey Carlson, O.D.