Twenty years ago, when a person had dry eyes, the best option available to them was to purchase drops that simulated tears. These drops would lubricate the eyes and help with some of the dryness. Interestingly, research has shown that when people complain about eye discomfort, up to 86 percent of these individuals are complaining because their eyes are dry or in response to a condition that is connected to dry eye. Thankfully, today there is LipiFlow®, a convenient in-office treatment that is designed to relieve the condition.
When a person has MGD, a disease that is connected to dry eyes, the earlier it is treated and the earlier it is managed, the slower it will progress. MGD happens when the glands in the eyes that are designed to create protective oil slow down the oil production or stop completely. With time, these glands can become blocked, or they can be damaged as a result of an injury.
The oil that these glands produce is essential since it serves as the first line of defense to lubricate your eyes. While lubrication is good for eye movement, lubrication is essential to protect your eyes when you blink. Just imagine how painful and how irritating it would be to blink if your eyelids if your eyes were completely dry.
When these oil-producing glands in the eyes are not working at 100 percent, the film of tears that your eyes constantly have over them starts to evaporate. As a result, the surface of your eyes is exposed. The discomfort that is produced by having dry eyes only gets worse over time. Eventually, it goes from just being an irritation to something that can impact your eyes’ health and the quality of your vision.
There are different processes that Dr. Patel can use to determine if your dry eyes are caused by a failure of these glands to produce oil. They will examine your eyes and check for moisture. They will look for the telltale signs of damage to these oil-producing glands, as well as ask you questions about how often you feel your eyes are dry and the effect having dry eyes is having on you.
If your oil-producing glands are blocked and if the blockage is left untreated, it can cause the glands to suffer structural damage and eventually completely stop working. Once these glands stop working, there is nothing that current medical science can do to regenerate them or to get them working again.
Interestingly, MGD is becoming more common in modern society. One of the reasons why is because people are using technological devices throughout the day that require them to constantly look at a screen. As a result, people are blinking less. Since they are blinking less, they are developing what scientists call evaporative stress. This affects their eyes’ ability to create tears and causes the tear glands to block up.
LipiFlow® is a technology that has recently been approved by the FDA to clear up blocked tear glands and restore the natural flow of oil to your eye’s surface. Survey after survey shows that when a person uses this treatment, the oil production in their eyes is increased threefold.