LipiFlow, the latest development in dry eye treatment, goes beyond symptomatic solutions to directly address the root cause of chronic evaporative dry eye. As a premier Boston eye surgeon and dry eye specialist, Dr. Ernest W. Kornmehl offers this leading-edge procedure to dry eye sufferers.
Benefits of LipiFlow Treatment
- Real, lasting relief from dry eye symptoms
- Short in-office procedure
- No pain or discomfort during treatment
- Cleared by the FDA for safety
- No recovery downtime – resume normal activities immediately after treatment
- Less eye fatigue, less eyestrain within six to eight weeks of treatment
- Must be repeated yearly to manage dry eye symptoms
Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome
To understand how and why LipiFlow works, we must first understand the leading cause of chronic dry eye. According to the latest studies, more than 64 percent of patients who suffer from chronic dry eye have a lipid (oil) deficiency caused by a blockage of the meibomian glands. This condition is called evaporative dry eye.
The meibomian glands are located on the rims of the eyelids. Their primary function is to supply meibum, an oily substance that prevents the evaporation of the eye’s tear film, which is comprised of three layers: the lipid layer, the aqueous layer and the mucin layer.
However, the meibomian glands can become blocked with thickened oil or other debris. If the obstructed glands are not treated, eventually they can atrophy and scar.
Why and How Does LipiFlow Work?
The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is a leading-edge technology that is designed to unblock eyelid glands (meibomian glands) by applying a combination of precise localized heat and recurrent pressure to the eyelid while protecting the eyeball. The goal of unblocking the glands is to allow the body to resume its natural course of oil secretion necessary for a healthy tear film.
Signs You Could Benefit from LipiFlow
You may benefit from LipiFlow if you experience the following symptoms of evaporative dry eye disease:
- Eye dryness or grittiness
- Irritated, itchy or burning eyes
- Watering eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye fatigue or eyestrain
- Contact lens intolerance
- Blurred or fluctuating vision
To determine whether you are a suitable candidate for LipiFlow treatment, please schedule an appointment with the team at Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates in Boston.
LipiFlow Treatment: The Procedure
The first step in treating chronic dry eye is to determine whether it is caused by evaporative dry eye. To accomplish this, Dr. Kornmehl uses sophisticated diagnostic tools, including the LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer, which allows him to closely observe the tear film and obtain images of the glands.
The LipiFlow treatment begins with the administration of anesthetic eye drops for maximum patient comfort. A LipiFlow activator is then carefully placed, and the patient is asked to close his/her eye around the piece. The device is then activated to deliver gentle pressure and warmth to the eyelids, thereby melting away the blockages within the glands. During the next 12 minutes, the LipiFlow device delivers precise amounts of pressure and pre-programmed degrees of temperature to facilitate an optimal treatment outcome. The procedure is well-tolerated, and patients only feel gentle pressure.
LipiFlow Recovery and Results
The LipiFlow treatment requires no downtime or recovery. Patients are free to go home shortly after the treatment.
The results of LipiFlow can take up to four to eight weeks to achieve, and a majority of patients experience relief of their dry eye symptoms. The effects of the treatment continue to improve for several months. The goal of the LipiFlow treatment is to keep the Meibomian glands functioning and preventing them from scarring.
LipiFlow clinical studies have shown that about 7 glands are unblocked immediately after treatment and up to 9 glands in approximately 12 months. Overall, nearly 80 percent of patients treated with LipiFlow reported a significant improvement in chronic dry eye symptoms.
LipiFlow is a safe, non-evasive treatment. Dr. Kornmehl will provide you with detailed information prior to your LipiFlow procedure at his Boston eye care practice.
FAQ’s about LipiFlow
What are meibomian glands?
Meibomian glands are tiny glands in the upper and lower eyelids that produce oils that prevent tears from evaporating too quickly off the eye’s surface. Eventually these glands can become blocked with thickened oils and other debris; as a result, they stop producing and secreting sufficient amounts of oil, in turn leading to dry eye symptoms.
How does LipiFlow work?
LipiFlow works by unblocking clogged meibomian glands and restoring regular oil flow to the tear film. The system uses a combination of gentle heating and compression to melt thickened oil secretions and express them from the glands.
Is LipiFlow safe?
Yes, the FDA has cleared LipiFlow for the safe and effective treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction.
Does LipiFlow treatment hurt?
No, LipiFlow does not hurt. Many patients even describe the warming and massaging sensations of treatment as “relaxing.”
What kind of results can I expect?
Results vary by patient but most patients see an improvement in dry eye symptoms within four to eight weeks of treatment.
Is there any downtime or aftercare?
LipiFlow does not require any downtime or recovery. Patients may be asked to clean their eyelids daily after treatment to prevent debris from accumulating on the eyelids and re-blocking the meibomian glands.
How long do the effects of LipiFlow last?
Depending on the patient, the effectiveness of a LipiFlow treatment session can last from 6 to 12 months.
How much does LipiFlow cost?
Our team would be happy to give you more information about the cost of LipiFlow over the phone or during an in-person consultation with one of our dry eye specialists.
Is LipiFlow covered by insurance?
There is no procedure code for LipiFlow. Our office staff is happy to answer questions about payment options and insurance over the phone or in person.
Contact Your Boston Dry Eye Specialist
LipiFlow, the latest development in dry eye treatment, goes beyond symptomatic solutions to directly address the root cause of chronic evaporative dry eye. As a premier Boston eye surgeon, Dr. Ernest W. Kornmehl offers this leading-edge procedure to dry eye sufferers.
Please contact our Boston office today to schedule your consultation for more information on how our eye specialists can help you with your dry eyes.