Lipiflow is an FDA-approved procedure for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
Dry eye is a very common condition that the majority of us have heard of. But did you know that 86 percent of people diagnosed with dry eye are actually suffering from MGD? In the past, the only way to treat MGD was a constant use of eye drops, sprays or creams.
But now, Lipiflow offers an effective, longer lasting treatment.
Here, we go over some of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding this procedure.
What is MGD?
The meibomian glands produce the oily part of tears. When there is a dysfunction with the gland, the amount of oil or its quality is compromised. The glands become clogged and not enough oil is produced.
The result is that tears evaporate too quickly and the eyes dry out. Diagnosis of MGD can only be made by a doctor, who may suggest that Lipiflow is the treatment required.
What is Lipiflow?
It’s the only procedure cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of MGD.
Consisting of a console and a device called the Activator, the Lipiflow system uses Vectored Thermal Pulsation technology. Using heat pulses, it is designed to remove blockages from the meibomian glands.
How does it work?
The Activator is a sterile device, specially designed to be placed over and under the eyelids. It’s contoured to avoid contact with the eyes surface.
Once treatment begins, a combination of heat and gentle pressure is delivered to the inner lid. At the same time, the outer lid is therapeutically massaged. This combination unclogs the meibomian glands so they resume normal oil production.
The whole process can be done in the doctor’s office and takes just 12 minutes to administer. Sometimes just one session is necessary. However, depending on the individual, more sessions may be required.
Is the treatment painful?
Lipiflow is a painless procedure. An anesthetic eye drop is used to ensure there is no discomfort. And the Activator delivers heat and pressure whilst protecting the rest of the eye. Most patients describe the process as having a gentle eye massage.
How long do the results of Lipiflow last for?
Everyone is different, so results vary from individual to individual. Relief from symptoms is generally seen after several weeks. A single treatment can often last for up to two years.
Are there side effects?
As it is FDA approved, Lipiflow is considered extremely safe. Patients have experienced minor side effects. These include redness, inflammation, and a stinging or burning sensation. However, these are temporary and are outweighed by the relief the treatment brings in the long term.
Am I eligible for the procedure?
Your eye specialist will begin by asking you basic questions to assess the seriousness of your condition.
A tear osmolarity test will be conducted to check for dry eye. To diagnose MGD, a Lipiscan may be carried out. This creates a high-definition image of the meibomian glands. Only after a full assessment will your doctor know if Lipiflow is the right treatment for you.