By Jean Keamy
Tear Science has developed a breakthrough treatment for patients who suffer from evaporative dry eye disease. This disease stems from a deficiency in the oily lipid layer of the eye’s natural tear film. The oily lipids serve as a protective layer so that the aqueous (water) layer of the eye’s tear film does not evaporate. A new, advanced in-office treatment, called LipiFlow® is intended to treat patients with blocked meibomian glands, called meibomian gland dysfunction, by unblocking the glands and allowing them to resume the secretion of oily lipids needed for a healthy tear film.
Dry eye disease affects 23 million people in the United States. Of those, 65 percent suffer from Evaporative Dry Eye. Common symptoms of dry eye include dryness, grittiness, soreness, irritation, burning and eye fatigue. These symptoms can hinder people’s daily activities such as reading, using the computer, wearing contact lenses and being outdoors on windy days. Many dry eye patients complain those symptoms worsen throughout the day.
Dry eye disease is one of the most common topics patients discuss when visiting eye care professionals. The new LipiFlow treatment to help those patients who are very frustrated with this chronic disease and all of the ways it negatively affects their lives. In effect, LipiFlow helps the meibomian glands resume their natural function and many patients note symptom relief.
Historically, common therapies aimed at dry eye symptom relief included using warm compresses, over- the-counter wetting drops and ointments and prescription drugs. Alternatively, the new LipiFlow treatment addresses the root cause of evaporative dry eye by unblocking the meibomian glands that secrete oily lipids. In controlled clinical studies of patients who received a single LipiFlow treatment, the average meibomian gland score at four weeks increased by two to three times over the baseline condition, which reflects improvement in the number of glands secreting and secretion quality. Additionally, at four weeks after the LipiFlow treatment, 79 percent of patients reported improvement in dry eye symptoms.
Dr. Jean Keamy is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in LASIK, PRK, refractive surgery, cataract surgery and routine eye exams. She owns Keamy Eye & Laser Centre and can be reached at 508-836-8733. Learn more at www.seemedrkeamy.com or www.facebook.com/Keamyeye. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read on fiftyplusadvocate.com/archives/category/health/eyecare.