For some it is a constant irritation, for others it is so debilitating they cannot open their eyes. The America Academy of Ophthalmology (www.aao.org) calls it “one of the most common ocular complaints in the United States” and estimates that nearly 5 million Americans 50 and older have the condition described as moderate to severe dry eye. They also pointed out that “tens of millions more are affected by milder symptoms that occur periodically when triggered by an adverse event or environmental agents.”
Fortunately, our understanding of dry eye disorders has improved dramatically, along with an enhanced ability to diagnose and treat the condition. The two predominant forms of dry eye are described as “aqueous-deficient” and “lipid-deficient,” said Dr. Rafael Trespalacios of Brevard Eye Center.
The LipiFlow procedure takes about 12 minutes for each eye and can be performed the same day as the patient’s initial evaluation.
“Aqueous-deficient dry eye occurs when the lacrimal glands do not generate enough (water) to keep the eyes sufficiently moist,” Dr. Tres explained. “Lipid-deficient dry eye, also known as evaporative dry eye, occurs when the water evaporates at a faster rate than normal due to an inadequate protective lipid(oil) layer on the surface of the tear film. Evaporative dry eye is the most prevalent type, affecting up to 86 percent of dry eye sufferers.”
Dr. Tres was the first in Brevard, and one of the first in the U.S., to offer a revolutionary new treatment for evaporative dry eye disorder – a simple process that can be performed right in his office. The groundbreaking procedure – The LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System from TearScience®, a Division of Johnson and Johnson, is a significant technological shift in evaporative dry eye treatment, effectively relieving blockage of the eyelid (Meibomian) glands. The procedure takes about 12 minutes for each eye and can be performed the same day as the patient’s initial evaluation. In a clinical study, 76 percent of patients reported improvement of their symptoms within two weeks.
At the heart of the LipiFlow® is the activator (a cup-like eyepiece). The activator uses patented, precisely controlled heat applied to the inner eyelid with adaptive pressure encouraging the body to resume the natural production of oils needed for the tear film. Its single-use design and built-in sensors ensure a safe, sterile treatment.
If you are concerned that you are experiencing a chronic dry eye condition or have ever been told that you have “meibomian gland dysfunction” (MGD), make an appointment at one of Brevard Eye’s convenient locations.