DRY EYE AND MGD
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) occurs when there are blockages or structural damage that inhibits the natural production of protective oils from the meibomian glands located in our eyelids. This oil protects the watery layer in our tear film, but when these oils are not present, it causes your tears to rapidly evaporate and lose their consistency.
Without these 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.
WHY IS MGD SO PREVALENT?
Extensive computer, smartphone and tablet use has contributed to a significant increase in partial blinking. Blinking stimulates the meibomian glands to secrete oils and spread a protective oil layer across the tear film. When we partially blink the eyelids do not touch, so there is no pressure applied at the meibomian glands to release theses oils. Over time the oils harden in our meibomian glands and blockages develop.
WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF MGD?
When meibomian gland blockages occur, and the glands are left untreated, our glands can shrink, deteriorate, and disappear entirely. For many patients with MGD, who have left the condition untreated, significant gland loss can lead to chronic dry eye with severe symptoms and even damage to vision.
WHAT IS LIPIFLOW?
LipiFlow is an innovated dry eye treatment from Johnson and Johnson designed to help reverse the blockages in the meibomian glands via thermal pulsation technology. It has been approved by FDA and Health Canada.
It is a safe and easy procedure that lasts for 12 minutes and uses heat to melt the clogged oil with gentle massaging on the eyelid to empty out the blockages.
LipiFlow is proven effective to increase function in the meibomian glands up to 3x depending on the health of your gland structure and extent of your MGD. While results vary, it can take up to 60 days to notice results as the glands naturally begin to generate and expel necessary oil levels needed to properly protect the tear film.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A LIPIFLOW TREATMENT
The 12-minute in office treatment will begin with you seated in a reclined chair. 1-2 drops of mild anesthetic will be placed in the eyes. Next the disposable eyepiece (activator) with the lid warmer will gently be placed under your lids and the eye cup outside your eye lids. You will be asked to close your eyes once the eyepiece is in place.
The Lipiflow will be activated. You will begin to feel warmth and gentle pressure on your eyelids. The eyepiece will become gradually warmer until reaches a therapeutic range then will remain at that temperature for the rest of the duration. The gentle pressure you will feel will remain constant for 2 minutes as the appropriate temperature is reached to begin melting the blockages within the glands. At the end of the 2 minutes the pressure will be released briefly.
Next, as the temperature is maintained the pressure will go through different modes, including slow increasing pressure and pulsation for several cycles throughout the remaining 10 minutes of treatment. This is done to facilitate removing the blockages from the glands.
Once the 12-minute treatment is up, the activators will be gently removed from your eyes. It is normal to have some discharge and slight stinging or irritation which may interfere with vision right after. These symptoms should go away shortly after and you are able to put contact lenses in and drive home after.