If you suffer from evaporative dry eye, the problem may stem from a blockage of certain glands in your eyelids, a condition that can also cause recurring styes. The eye care professionals at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care, serving East Brunswick, Toms River, and Morristown, New Jersey, use the LipiFlow® activator, a device that treats the source problem behind evaporative dry eye. Call the office or book an appointment online to learn more about how LipiFlow may help you.
The tear layer protecting your eyes has three layers, each made in a different part of the eye and its surrounding tissue. The outer layer is oily, to both lubricate between the eye’s surface and the inside of your eyelid, as well as preventing the aqueous middle layer from evaporating too soon.
The oily layer is produced by the Meibomian glands located around the edge of your eyelids. These glands may become blocked, preventing some or all of the oily tear layer from reaching your eye during a blink. Your eye dries up as the aqueous layer evaporates. This condition is known as Meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD.
The LipiFlow activator restores Meibomian gland function through a combination of heat and motion, both carefully controlled by the LipiFlow base. Focusing heat on the part of the eyelid where the glands reside, the LipiFlow eye cup warms the glands to 43 degrees Celsius, about five degrees above normal body temperature, to loosen the blockages affecting the Meibomian glands.
At the same time, pulsed sequences of gentle pressure provide physical assistance to help dislodge blockages and old gland contents that were trapped behind the blockage. The LipiFlow activator is designed in such a way that temperature and pressure focus on the part of the eyelid hosting the Meibomian glands and protecting your eye from heat and excess motion.
Once the glands are cleared, then the oily layer of your tear formulation is restored, and evaporative dry eye no longer occurs.
The LipiFlow activators are sterile, single-use appliances that fit both under and over your eyelids. The activators are shaped in such a way that they avoid contact with the surface of your cornea. Placement of the activators is easy and creates minimal discomfort. The treatment itself lasts about 12 minutes.
You feel little during the procedure except a slight warming of the eye area that some users describe as being spa-like. The maximum effect of the LipiFlow treatment typically takes between four and eight weeks to occur.