LipiFlow is a simple 12-minute treatment used to help treat the symptoms of MGD-related Dry Eye (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction).
What Is MGD?
Nearly 86% of patients who suffer from Dry Eye also have a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or MGD. MGD is often caused by obstructed oil glands located in your eyelids, known as the Meibomian Glands. These glands are the key to maintaining and producing the protective lipid oil your eyes need to stay moist and healthy. Without the necessary quality or quantity of these protective oils, our eyes become more susceptible to the negative effects that dry climates, air conditioning, computer use, reading and other daily activities can have on the long-term health of our eyes.
What Are Symptoms Of MGD?
- Blurred Vision
- Excess Tears
- Scratchy/Gritty Feeling
- Red, Itchy Eyes
- Tired, Puffy Eyes
How Does LipiFlow Work?
This proven treatment, which takes place in the Spector Eye Care office, uses single-use sterile devices to deliver a combination of heat to the inner lids and simultaneous therapeutic massage to the outer lids, removing blockages from the Meibomian glands.
How Does This Help My Dry Eye?
As a result of removing the gland obstructions, your glands are then able to produce the oils essential in protecting your eyes from MGD. These newly cleared glands allow your eye to maintain the necessary protective oily layer that keeps your eyes moist and healthy.
How Do I Know If I’m A Candidate For LipiFlow?
Prior to receiving the treatment, your doctor will perform a painless, non-invasive test called a LipiScan. The LipiScan takes images of your glands so your doctor can “score” your gland functionality. Maintaining a higher gland score will benefit your eye health.
A person with normal gland function will appear on the LipiScan similar to this image:
Figure 1: Healthy Glands
A person with moderately affected glands that might benefit from LipiFlow will appear similar to this example:
Figure 2: Moderately Affected Glands
A person with severely affected glands will appear similar to this example:
Figure 3: Severely Affected Glands
Does LipiFlow Hurt?
No. Before insertion of the Applicators, you will be given numbing drops to dull any sensation caused by the Applicator or treatment. The Applicators are then lightly positioned between your cornea and eyelids in order to directly apply heat to the glands inside your eyelids. During the 12-minute treatment, you will feel the sensation of heat, similar to applying a warm compress, and you may feel an intermittent light tugging on your upper eyelid. This tugging is the pulsation of the Applicator working to express the oil from your glands. No patients have reported any pain during the procedure.
What Is The Recovery Like?
Some patients may experience dryness or headaches the evening after receiving the treatment, but symptoms are normally gone by the next morning. Typically, you can resume normal activity immediately with the help of artificial tears. It’s possible abrasions may occur causing some discomfort the following day, but it’s uncommon. Some patients have even opted for LipiFlow treatments during their lunch breaks!
Is LipiFlow A Permanent Solution To My Dry Eye?
Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure for Dry Eye, and LipiFlow is a temporary treatment. Depending on your case, you may choose to repeat the treatment in 6 – 8 months or a year. Some patients prefer to do it more often. LipiFlow will be used in conjunction with your Doctor’s other recommendations, like artificial tears or even punctal plugs.