LipiFlow and Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
“It has been years since my eyes have felt comfortable – I had no idea how irritated and gritty my eyes had been until they felt good. Several days following my Lipiflow® treatment my eyes felt comfortable. For the first time in a long time, I no longer feel the need to close my eyes throughout the day due to discomfort. This treatment has made a big difference in the quality of my life!”
The experience detailed above is one of our practice’s many success stories after treatment with LipiFlow® for Dry Eye Syndrome. In today’s blog, we talk with Dr. Brittany McMurren, one of our experienced optometrists here at Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute Institute. Dr. McMurren is in the process of developing a specialty for treating Dry Eye Syndrome at our practice. The condition is one of the most common eye afflictions in the U.S. and Dr. McMurren says there are a number of treatment options, including LipiFlow®, that can significantly alleviate symptoms and help patients feel back to normal.
What is the most common cause of Dry Eye for your patients?
Dry Eye is sort of a misnomer, catch-all term because patients experience the symptoms differently. Some patients have excessive tearing, which may not seem to make sense with a term like “Dry Eye” – but, it’s still all part of what’s known as ocular surface disease. There is a really high prevalence of ocular surface disease, especially in the United States. About 25 million Americans have Dry Eye disease, and it’s estimated that 86 percent of it is due to meibomian gland dysfunction, which is a little gland inside each of your eyelids. These glands produce the oily layer of your tears, which ultimately makes them stable.
What Dry Eye treatment options do you offer at Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute Institute?
There is a lot of new technology that has made great advances in Dry Eye treatment. For example: the LipiView®. This is a camera that assesses how well you blink, how many glands are functioning, and how healthy your tear film is.
We also have the LipiFlow® system, which actually treats the root cause (meibomian gland dysfunction) of many people’s Dry Eye conditions. LipiFlow® is a quick, in-office treatment designed to unclog oil deposits in the meibomian glands and restore regular oil flow. So, we now have a way of cleaning out the glands themselves and starting fresh. LipiFlow typically does not require any downtime, so most patients are able to return to work or other daily activities right after the procedure.
We also have biotissues that we can apply to the front of the eye if the patient is in severe pain, and we have a range of medications that can help. We have treatment regimens that use supplements, as well as in-office treatments.
How do you determine which treatment is the most appropriate?
Patients will come in for a full Dry Eye work-up, and during that we will test all of the layers of the tear film, the quality of the tears, and any inflammation factors that may be impacting it. Sometimes, things like medications or menopausal/hormonal changes can cause Dry Eye, and as soon as we find the root cause, we can choose the treatment.
If a patient is not producing enough tears, we might treat them with Restasis® to help them build up their own natural tears. For someone with meibomian gland dysfunction we would treat the glands themselves.
Are there any specific signs or symptoms that patients should watch out for to know if they may need Dry Eye treatment?
If your eyes feel uncomfortable, or if the comfort level of your eyes changes throughout the day, that’s a sign to look out for. If you wake up feeling great, but by the end of the day your eyes feel tired, gritty, or burning, that’s one sign that you have Dry Eye. Excessive tearing is another sign.
If you notice that your vision fluctuates, that’s yet another sign that you need to have your eyes checked.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a multi-faceted condition. There are treatments available that, if tailored properly, can actually have patients feeling much better and have them producing their own natural tears!
Contact Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute Institute
If you have questions about Dry Eye Syndrome, or if you would like to schedule an eye exam here at Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute Institute, please contact us today.