LipiFlow is an FDA-approved system designed to help your eyes produce more lipid tear film. Lipid tear film is vital for your comfort and quality of life because it prevents dry eye caused by MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction). At Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS, Dr. Patel is proud to offer this safe, effective treatment because she understands how frustrating it is to have chronically dry eyes.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at LipiFlow, including who is generally considered a good candidate for this treatment and how you should prepare. If you are sick and tired of throwing away money on ineffective eye drops, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about this treatment to help you determine whether it is right for you.
Who Is a Good Candidate for LipiFlow?
You can expect to be considered a good LipiFlow candidate if you suffer from chronic dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. However, you need to sit down with Dr. Patel to discuss your symptoms and medical history to verify that treatment with this highly advanced device will be safe and effective for you. If you don’t already have a recent one, you’ll need to get a comprehensive eye exam, too.
During your comprehensive eye exam, a number of factors will be evaluated. For example, your tear film and glands will be evaluated thoroughly. As another example, we will look for acute ocular conditions or eyelid problems that may preclude you from qualifying for treatment temporarily.
What If I’m Not a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
While this treatment is safe and effective for most people with MGD, it is not the ideal solution for every case. If you only have mild symptoms, you may only need artificial eye drops to achieve symptom relief. There is a chance that you just need to try a different brand of eye drops to achieve relief if you have so far lacked luck in the eye drop department.
Practicing excellent eyelid hygiene may also benefit you significantly. The cleaner your eyelids are, the less viscous the lipid layer of your tears is. Furthermore, your meibomian glands will be able to secrete more lipids if your eyelids stay clean. This increases lubrication significantly. To practice proper lid hygiene, you need to regularly warm, massage, and cleanse your eyelids.
What Exactly Is Involved in Lid Hygiene?
Eyelid warming is one of the three essential components of proper lid hygiene. This step involves applying a warm compress to the eyelids for 10 to 15 minutes. If you use a clean, moist washcloth as a warm compress, you may need to add hot water to the washcloth at some point during your treatment. If you use a heated gel pack or Blephasteam, you shouldn’t need to worry about maintaining the optimal temperature.
Eyelid massage is another one of the three essential components of proper lid hygiene. This step involves using your middle and index fingers to apply gentle pressure to the eyelids. Eyelid cleansing can be accomplished with baby shampoo and clean water.
Do I Have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
If you’re not sure whether you suffer from MGD, it is extremely important that you attend an evaluation of your eye health with an eye expert. To verify whether you suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction, your eyes will be examined thoroughly. For example, the osmolarity of your tears will be measured.
As another example, the height of your lower tear meniscus will be measured. We will also conduct other tests to rule out other medical conditions that cause chronic dry eye. One of the most common signs of this condition is chronic dry eye. However, there are other signs. For example, you may suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction if you are experiencing such symptoms as:
- Red eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Frequent fatigue
- Blurry vision
What Are the Risk Factors of Developing This Condition?
There are several significant MGD risk factors. Advanced age is one of the most significant risk factors of developing this condition. Another very significant risk factor is an imbalance in androgen or other sex hormone levels. Furthermore, certain systemic conditions can increase your risk of MGD, like:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Sjorgen’s syndrome (SS)
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)
There are also several ophthalmic factors that can increase your risk of developing MGD. For example, trachoma, chronic blepharitis, Demodex folliculorum infection, and aniridia can also increase the risk of developing MGD. Moreover, your risk of developing MGD increases if you tattoo your eyelids or wear contact lenses every day. Other risk factors of developing MGD include the use of:
- Hormone replacement therapy
What Can I Do To Mitigate the Risk of Developing MGD?
If you are at least 41 years of age, you should strongly consider making lifestyle adjustments to reduce your chance of meibomian gland dysfunction. For example, you may want to start wearing eye makeup less frequently. If you don’t want to reduce your eye makeup use, make sure that you remove your makeup completely before bed every night so your meibomian glands aren’t blocked for too long.
You also may want to consider opting for glasses or corrective vision surgery instead of contact lenses. In some cases, regular contact lens use can irritate the eyes and affect blinking patterns. If your contact lenses irritate your eyes, look into wearing your contact lenses less frequently or updating your prescription.
Are There Other Steps I Should Take To Mitigate My Risk of Developing MGD?
There are other steps you may be able to take to reduce your likelihood of developing MGD. For example, you may benefit from reducing the amount of time you spend staring at screens, like computer monitors, cell phones, or television screens. Looking at screens for too long can decrease lipid secretion and eventually lead to your tears evaporating too quickly.
If your job requires you to look at a screen for hours at a time, make a point to take frequent breaks. For example, every 20 minutes, you may want to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also, you should treat any medical conditions that can lead to MGD, like high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis. This may involve taking prescription medications and making lifestyle and diet changes.
Do I Need To Stop Taking Certain Medications?
You will be advised on whether you need to stop taking certain medications during your initial consultation after you advise Dr. Patel on what medications you are currently taking. Certain drugs, like antidepressants and preventative acne medication may contain ingredients that disrupt the function of your meibomian glands. If you are taking a drug with this known side effect, you may want to talk to your prescribing doctor about getting a different drug.
What Can I Expect During My Treatment Process?
You can expect your treatment session to be quick and painless. Generally, treatment sessions are 10 to 15 minutes in length and completely comfortable from start to finish. In fact, it is commonly reported that the vectored thermal pulse technology applied to the insides of the eyelids feels like a warm, gentle massage.
What Can I Expect After My Treatment Session?
You should not expect any downtime following your treatment session. You are free to return to work after your treatment session is complete or drive yourself home and spend the rest of the day relaxing. You should also not expect to enjoy immediate relief from chronic dry eye. It will take time for your lipid layer to rebuild itself, so your tears don’t evaporate too quickly.
Individual results vary, but most people enjoy relief just a few days after their first treatment session. During your initial consultation, the severity of your condition will be evaluated. You will be advised on whether numerous treatment sessions will be necessary to provide you with ideal results. Finally, you should be aware that most people only enjoy chronic dry eye relief for a year at a time following this treatment.
Find Out More Today
The bottom line is that you can feel confident you will be considered a good LipiFlow candidate if you have been diagnosed with MGD and suffer from chronic dry eye. To find out for sure whether treatment with this innovative device is right for you, schedule an initial evaluation today with Dr. Patel at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS.