By Keith Biggs, O.D.
With 2018 approaching, Summit Eye Care is taking the next step into the future by focusing on Dry Eye Syndrome. Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition that is quickly becoming an epidemic. With smart phones and computer usage, dry eye is expected to increase from affecting 26 million Americans to 55 million within 10 years. Dry eye has been shown to affect twice as many women as men. Some of the symptoms associated with this disease include burning, itchiness, fatigue, blurred vision, light sensitivity, redness, and a sandy/gritty sensation to the eyes. Another common symptom can be watery eyes. As odd as this may seem, the dryness in the eye will over-stimulate production of tears. As we approach the new year, Summit Eye Care’s focus is on helping patients take control of their dryness.
A normal tear film consists of three layers.
- An oily (lipid) component
- A watery (aqueous) component
- A mucous-like (mucin) component
A problem with any of these sources of tear film components can result in tear instability and dry eyes, and there are different categories of dry eyes, depending on which component is affected.
For example, if the meibomian glands don’t produce or secrete enough oil (meibum), the tear film may evaporate too quickly — a condition called “evaporative dry eye.” The underlying condition — called meibomian gland dysfunction — is now recognized as a significant factor in many cases of dry eye syndrome. These particular glands are located in the upper and lower eyelid and supply oil to the surface of the eye. When clogged, this can lead to dry eye symptoms.
Until recently, treating meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) has been very tricky and revolves around the patient using warm compresses several times per day onto their eyes. LipiFlow is the only FDA-approved device that combines heat with physical massage to liquefy and express the meibomian gland contents, to help restore the lipid layer of the ocular surface. In a clinical study, 79% of patients reported improved overall dry eye symptoms within four weeks of a single LipiFlow treatment. LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation technology applies heat to the inner eyelids and gentle pressure, releasing lipids from the meibomian glands. The procedure is fast, virtually painless, and takes place right in a doctor’s office. The process opens clogged oil glands that may be robbing your eye of vital lipids that aid in dry eye.
The doctors at Summit Eye Care are the first private practice doctors in Winston-Salem to treat using LipiFlow technology. Summit Eye Care is set to become regional leaders in treating dry eye using our state of the art equipment. Determining the cause of your dry eye is the first step in determining what treatment plan works best for you.
For many people, LipiFlow means relief. LipiFlow treats the leading cause of evaporative dry eye, not just the symptoms.
The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is a revolutionary way to treat evaporative dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. Opening and clearing blocked glands allows the body to resume the natural production of lipids (oils) needed for the tear film. The result may eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms associated with evaporative dry eye.
In other words, you stop thinking about your eyes. Because over time, they no longer bother you, and you can get on with your life.