Dry eyes is the most common ailment that the doctors at New Jersey Eye Center encounter on a daily basis. The right dry eye treatment can only be prescribed after a dry eye specialist has properly diagnosed the type and severity of the disease.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes is a multifactorial disease. The ailment is caused by an imbalance in the production of tears that help keep the eyes lubricated and the vision clear.
There are two types of dry eyes:
Evaporative Dry Eye: About 70% of all dry eyes are evaporative in nature. In this case, the tears evaporate too quickly. When the meibomian glands (glands responsible for producing the eye tear film) are blocked or inflamed, it creates a shortage of oil, which increases evaporation of the tears.
Aqueous Dry Eye: In this rare case, the eyes fail to produce a healthy level of watery component of tears. This eventually degrades the eye surface by making it more irritable and scratchy.
What are the Dry Eyes Symptoms?
The typical dry eyes symptoms include:
• Eye fatigue
• Irritable, scratchy eyes
• Lack of visual clarity
• Light sensitivity
• Redness or discomfort
• Stringy eye mucus discharge
Another common dry eye symptom includes eyes that water constantly. This often confuses patients as they don’t realize that this relates to dry eyes. These tears, known as reflex tears, are different from the normal tears (basal tears). They do not have the right composition of the oil and water components that are required for the eye to stay healthy and lubricated. The purpose of reflex tears is simply to flood the eye as a response to an irritant in the eye, trying to flush it out.
Who is at Risk?
Dry eyes is common in all demographics. It is especially common in the elderly, females with light eyes, people who wear contact lenses, teenagers who spend a huge amount of time on screens and smokers. It is also common in people with existing ailments like arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome or any other immune disease.
Being on a computer for long periods of time without taking breaks is a major contributor to dry eyes. People who do this blink about 60% less than they would normally, which decreases the chance of their
What are the Available Dry Eyes Treatments?
The good news: There is an FDA-approved treatment to manage the chronic disease well.
At New Jersey Eye Center, the first line of dry eyes treatment is always to prescribe over the counter drops or prescription drops to try and manage the disease. If this dry eye medication doesn’t work and the disease persists, the doctor may recommend tear plugs (punctual plugs) or Lipiflow.
Drops: Doctors recommend Xiidra and steroid drops commonly for dry eyes treatment.
Punctal plugs: These plugs are inserted into the tear duct to prevent the tears draining from the eye. This helps the eye to lubricate itself.
Lipiflow: This is the only FDA-approved procedure for dry eyes. A device applies heat to the lower lids and the upper globe, while protecting the eyes themselves from direct heat. Pulsating squeezes are applied to massage the eyes and release the blocked glands.
Is there any case when Lipiflow can’t be performed?
Yes. If there are no meibomian glands left, or are severely damaged, Lipiflow can’t be performed.
How long does it take for the procedure? Does it hurt?
The procedure itself takes only 12 minutes and can be performed in-office. This treatment involves applying direct heat to the eyelids. This helps unclog the meibomian glands, and the basal tears can flow normally again.
The procedure is painless and quite soothing. Patients experience slight pressure and heat during the treatment.
Is Lipiflow a permanent solution?
No, it is not a permanent cure. However, repeated Lipiflow treatments can help manage the disease effectively.
How long does it take for Lipiflow to take effect? How long do the benefits last?
It takes several weeks for the procedure to take full effect. The longevity of the results varies from patient to patient. But typically, the effectiveness of the treatment lasts for up to 2 years.
What can I expect from a Lipiflow procedure?
Your doctor will ask you basic questions to determine how serious your condition is. They will conduct a tear osmolarity test to check for dry eyes. Usually, readings more than 300 Osmol/L reveal the existence of dry eye. The doctor may also conduct a Lipiscan to get a clear digital image of your meibomian glands. After assessing the severity of the blockage, they will recommend the dry eyes treatment. Usually, doctors do not clear people with severe atrophy of the meibomian glands for the Lipiflow treatment.
If your doctor clears you for the procedure, you must follow the precautions and instructions thoroughly.
What are the precautions and postoperative care for Lipiflow?
Take care to follow these instructions at least 12 hours before your Lipiflow treatment:
• Stop any eye ointments and eye drops
• Do not use any warm compresses
• Discontinue use of contact lenses
• Discontinue use of oral antihistamines
• Avoid use of makeup on or around the eyes
• Bring your eye drops with you on the day of your procedure
• Show up at least half an hour before the appointment for your dry eyes treatment
After you are finished with the Lipiflow treatment,
• Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully
• Discontinue use of oral antihistamines for up to 1 week
• Begin the recommended medication
Dry Eyes Treatment in New Jersey
The New Jersey Eye Center, under the direction of Dr. James Dello Russo, uses Lipiflow treatment to successfully treat many dry eye candidates which can be helped with this painless procedure.
If you have further queries about the disease or the treatments, please reach out to our experts.