Millions of people suffer from dry eye, an uncomfortable chronic condition that can progress over time. Dry eye is primarily a part of the aging process (especially common in menopausal women); although it can also be caused by taking certain medications or living in a dry, dusty or windy climate. Nearly half of all adults regularly suffer from dry eye symptoms, which include persistent dryness, itching, burning, redness, discharge and a feeling of a foreign body in the eye.
Dr. Sandra Belmont of Belmont Eye Center is one of the first ophthalmologists to offer a revolutionary treatment option for evaporative dry eye: the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation system. LipiFlow is typically suggested when over-the-counter or prescription eye drops fail to provide relief from dry eye symptoms.
This safe, effective technology has helped thousands of people enjoy relief from irritated dry eyes.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
To understand dry eye syndrome, it is critical to understand how tears keep the eyes healthy and nourished.
The eyes are coated with a layer of tears, which provide much-needed moisture and lubrication and wash out particles of dust from the eye. Special eyelid glands called the meibomian glands produce oils (a.k.a., lipids) that keep the tears from evaporating too quickly.
Someone with dry eye syndrome does not produce enough tears, or their tears evaporate too quickly to sufficiently nourish the eyes. Failure to produce enough tears is known as aqueous tear deficient dry eye. Failure to slow the evaporation of tears and keep tears stable is known as evaporative dry eye.
Someone with evaporative dry eye has problematic meibomian glands; either the glands have become blocked due to disease or they are otherwise dysfunctional.
Evaporative dry eye is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist. The eye doctor uses a test called the Schirmer test, in which a thin strip of paper is placed under the lower eyelid to measure tear production.
How LipiFlow Helps
The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation system is designed to clear up the meibomian glands so they produce a sufficient amount of lipids to keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. LipiFlow uses a combination of heat and pressure to remove blockage from the glands.
LipiFlow is not a suitable treatment option for everyone. For example, it is not appropriate for individuals that have recently had eye surgery, an eye injury, herpes of the eye or chronic eye inflammation. Schedule an appointment at Belmont Eye Center to discuss LipiFlow with Dr. Belmont and find out whether it is an option for you.
LipiFlow Treatment: What to Expect
LipiFlow is a fast and virtually painless procedure performed in Dr. Belmont’s NYC office.
An eyepiece is placed over the eyelids and delivers a combination of heat and gentle pressure to the lids. This opens and clears out the blocked meibomian glands so they can resume the natural production of oils. With the proper lipids, the tears can properly nourish and moisturize the eyes.
One treatment with LipiFlow may be sufficient to achieve the desired relief from symptoms, or a series of treatments may be recommended.
Contact Dr. Belmont
If you experience irritating symptoms that seem characteristic of evaporative dry eye, schedule an appointment at Belmont Eye Center to have your eyes examined. Dr. Belmont can test you for dry eye and explain the available dry eye treatment options to you. Call us today to make an appointment.