What is a LipiFlow?
By Dr. Bennett-Sims
Did you know 86% of people with dry eyes have Meibomian Gland Disease or MGD? Meibomian gland disease is not dependent on age but rather inflammation which can occur at any age. Meibomian glands are oil glands found in the eyelids along the inside of your eyelashes. They can become blocked and function poorly for several common reasons. Bacteria along the lid, contact lens use, and inflammatory skin conditions are some of the main causes of gland dysfunction. Once these glands have become inflamed, the oil inside thickens like tooth paste. This results in blockage of the oil glands and ultimately damage to the glands. Once these glands have been damaged, they cannot be regenerated. Therefore, early detection and treatment of the glands is needed to preserve the ocular surface. The blockage of the glands can be corrected with an in-office procedure called LipiFlow®.
You may be asking yourself how would I know if I have a problem with my glands? MGD presents with fluctuation in vision after cataract surgery, burning eyes, and contact lens intolerance. Many patients will have great surgical results with a multifocal lens but experience fluctuation in vision due to poor ocular surface. The oils in your tear film are crucial to the stability of your vision and protection of the eyes during environmental changes such as wind or cold.
Furthermore, Meibomian gland disease is present in 30-60% of patients that wear contact lenses and typically presents with irritation from their lenses. In both of these causes of dryness, the lack of oil is creating evaporation of the tears resulting in poor vision. The use of LipiFlow treatments can increase a patient’s ability to wear contacts more comfortably by improving the stability of the tear film.
LipiFlow is an in-office procedure which takes about 15 minutes to correct the blockage of these oil glands. Most dry eye patients notice an improvement in 4 to 6 weeks. LipiFlow uses a patented algorithm of precise heat applied to the inner eyelids. A gentle direct massage then removes the blockage from the Meibomian glands. You can drive yourself and have no down time from the treatment. Once the glands are open and functioning better you should notice improvement in vision and increased comfort of the eyes.
Please ask your eye doctor about the health of your oil glands to ensure prompt evaluation and early treatment.
Visit lipiflow.com for videos and more information about MGD and the LipiFlow treatment.