Dry Eye Disease is a chronic condition which affects millions of Australians. Symptoms may include itching, burning, grittiness, redness and secondary watering. The condition is particularly prevalent in women aged above 40, although it is becoming more frequent in younger adults.  It is mainly associated with excessive screen use, air conditioning and contact lens wear. In some cases, the underlying eye disease may be rampant, yet the individual feels almost no discomfort.  This is due to damaged eye nerve function.

Artificial tears only provide temporary relief.  However, new technology means Dry Eye can now be managed successfully, resulting in healthier eyes, improved comfort and less dependence on eye drops.

In nearly 80% of cases, Dry Eye Disease is caused by inadequate oil, or meibum being secreted from glands located along the eyelid margin.  If the gland openings become clogged or inflamed, the lack of critical oils leads to increased tear evaporation; a condition termed “Evaporative Dry Eye”. This is now known to be a progressive disease.  If left untreated, meibomian gland dysfunction may lead to permanent gland atrophy with significantly worsening symptoms. Once these glands degenerate, they can no longer be repaired and the Dry Eye Disease progresses rapidly. Modern treatment is aimed at both relieving symptoms and critically slowing the disease.

Specialised Dry Eye Clinics have been setting up in various locations in Australia. These provide the most advanced assessment and treatment options, combining state-of-the-art equipment with extended and more thorough clinical chair time.   The Oculus Keratograph 5, a sophisticated diagnostic tool, scientifically evaluates the volume and quality of tear’s present. We are now able to take an infra-red image of the meibomian glands deep within the eyelid to determine the level of gland dysfunction. Thorough assessment paves the way for individualised management plans using a wide range of treatment options.

The lower image shows normal Meibomian glands inside a healthy eyelid, whereas the upper image shows significant gland atrophy leading to Evaporative Dry Eye.

The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is an automated, in-office dry eye treatment, based on 25 years of research studying the causes of Dry Eye Disease. The innovative Lipiflow electronic applicator fits onto the eye and over the eyelids applying precisely controlled heat to the lids in order to soften the hardened meibum. At the same time, the LipiFlow system applies pulsed pressure to the eyelids to open and express clogged meibomian glands, thereby restoring the correct balance of oils in the tear film and relieving dry eye syndrome. Lipiflow treatment is comfortable and takes approximately 12 minutes. Typically, the beneficial effects of the LipiFlow procedure lasts one to three years. In a clinical study examining the effectiveness of the procedure, most patients reported an improvement in their dry eye symptoms within two weeks, as well as an increase in the quality and quantity of meibomian gland secretions and in the duration in which their tear film remained on the eye prior to evaporation.

The Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation treatment is a comfortable procedure to unblock eyelid glands and help control Dry Eye Disease

Many thousands of patients with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) have now been treated with Lipiflow around the world, including patients in a randomised controlled multicentre clinical trial.  The research study showed statistically significant improvement for the number of Meibomian glands yielding clear liquid and in patient self-reported Dry Eye symptoms.

The very best results are achieved by combining Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation with two complimentary in-office treatments…

1.    BlephEx: A procedure to treat anterior blepharitis and to debride the eyelid surface at the meibomian gland openings. The BlephEx handpiece is used to precisely and carefully spin a medical-grade micro-sponge along the edge of the eyelids and lashes, removing scurf and debris and exfoliating the eyelids.

2.    EEye Intense Pulsed Light Treatment (IPL): Involving a hand-held device flashing bright light onto the skin, targeting dilated vessels and inflammation on the eyelid glands. Patients usually require three to four IPL sessions to achieve lasting symptomatic relief. IPL has been particularly successful in Dry Eye Syndrome associated with the inflammatory skin condition, rosacea.

Following treatment, patients are generally amazed at the improvement made in their eye health and comfort.

Built up crust and biofilm along the eyelid margins is removed with an in-office BlephEx treatment

 

This article was written and provided by George Sahely. For more information please visit www.sightandstyle.com.au or call 5973 5520