Meibomian gland dysfunction is the most common cause of dry eye. LipiFlow® is a special treatment created to help with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Several factors can cause dry eyes, but one of the most common ones is clogged oil glands. LipiFlow treatment helps remove the blockages using heat technology.
Tears are made up of three layers that help keep the eye effectively lubricated. The layers are oil (lipid), water (aqueous), and mucin. The meibomian glands found on the eyelid rims cause oil secretion to the tear film.
When the glands fail to work effectively, they become clogged, leading to insufficient production of oil in the tear film. The quality or amount of oil goes down due to gland dysfunction. MGD causes the tears to evaporate too fast, resulting in dry eyes.
There are several methods to treat dry eyes, but LipiFlow is proving to be the most effective option available. Most patients diagnosed with MGD use this treatment with good results. The LipiFlow treatment device is designed to remove the blockages in the glands.
The technique is now considered standard MGD treatment by most specialists. The device uses vectored thermal pulsation technology, comprising a console and the Activator. The Activator transmits heat pulses through the eyelids to the meibomian glands.
The goal of LipiFlow treatment is to deal with the root cause of dry eye. The device provides a gentle, warm sensation to the eyelids while also applying a gentle massage. The gentle, consistent heat and massage remove the meibomian gland blockages, allowing the clogged oil to be secreted.
After the treatment session, the glands can resume their natural function of oil production. Adequate oil in the tear film prevents quick evaporation and ensures a healthy eye surface. A single session can result in significant relief for an MGD patient.
Diagnosing dry eye will require a complete assessment of the patient’s condition. The doctor will need to determine the root cause of the dry eye. A tear osmolarity test will be conducted to diagnose the disease. A LipiScan® may be done to test for MGD. The results of the assessment will determine if LipiFlow is the right treatment for the patient.
The LipiFlow treatment must be conducted by a professional. It is not a surgical procedure, but it requires expertise. It is painless, but anesthetic eye drops may be applied to enhance comfort. The Activator produces gentle heat that is safe and not painful to the eyes. Patients who have had LipiFlow treatment report experiencing a warm and gentle eye massage. The entire process takes about 12 minutes, and the number of sessions required will depend on the severity of the condition. The doctor will make the recommendation after an assessment.
The results from LipiFlow treatment differ from one patient to the next. Some patients experience relief after a few days, while others experience the full effects after two weeks. The level of the MGD will usually determine the treatment duration.
To learn more about LipiFlow for dry eye, contact Williamsburg Eye Care at our office in Williamsburg, Virginia at (757) 564-1907 today to schedule an appointment.