Dry eyes are one of the most common of all eye conditions and are estimated to affect as many as 5 million adults aged over 50 in the United States alone. However, the subtle symptoms of this condition can easily be overlooked meaning that many people go undiagnosed, particularly if the issue resolves itself before they are so affected that they seek the advice of their eye doctor. Aside from eyes that feel dry and stiff, other symptoms of the condition include sensitivity to light, blurred vision, redness, and soreness.
Dry eyes most commonly occur when the glands responsible for producing the complex blend of substances that make up tear film are no longer working effectively, causing an imbalance that affects the quality of the eye’s natural lubrication. In some instances, the glands become blocked altogether, preventing sufficient oils from included in the tear film and causing dry eyes to develop. Although there are a number of different treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes, one is considered particularly effective at addressing the issue – LipiFlow.
LipiFlow is a technological solution to dry eye syndrome. The device uses a combination of heat and massage in order to break down any hard deposits that may be blocking the glands responsible for tear film production.
LipiFlow appointments are very straightforward. The LipiFlow device is hooked up to single-use sterile devices called activators which are designed to be placed under and over the eyelids and are contoured above the cornea so that the activators don’t make any direct contact with the core surface of the eye. Once in place, the LipiFlow device delivers automated thermal pulsation to the activators. Whilst the temperature applied to the glands reaches around 42°, most patients don’t experience any discomfort. The warmth starts to break down the lipids that may have hardened, and at the same time that the heat is applied, the pulses place repeated pressure onto the glands to force out any blockages.
The process takes around just 12 minutes per eye, meaning that it can conveniently be performed in a lunch break and as a non-invasive treatment, there is no need for anesthetic. There’s no downtime required either, and patients are able to return to their usual daily routine immediately following their appointment with no discomfort or side effects.
Although many patients may start to see the benefits of LipiFlow shortly after treatment, the glands take a number of weeks to fully recover and for the lipids required for the healthy tear film to begin to pass through normally again. Your dry eye symptoms should continue to improve over the coming weeks, with the maximum benefit usually being reached around 6-8 weeks following treatment.
If you would like to find out more about treating dry eyes with LipiFlow, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment for a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for LipiFlow treatment, please get in touch with our experienced and knowledgeable eye care team in Hackensack, NJ today.