Are your eyes dry, itchy, irritated, or sensitive to light? These are a few of the most common symptoms of chronic dry eye syndrome. Having dry eye can be scary, but it doesn’t need to be. There are many treatment options for dry eye available at Ellis Eye in San Francisco, CA.
Dry eye is a common disorder related to eye’s tears. Dry eye can occur because of the environment that you’re in or because of the quality and quantity of your tears. If dry eye is not treated, it can become a chronic problem that affects your vision.
There are three layers in the tear film that covers and protects the eye:
Dry eye often occurs when the eyes do not produce an adequate amount, or you produce low-quality tears. Without enough tears or low-quality tears, it’s difficult for the eyes to stay moist.
There are many causes of dry eye. One of the things that makes dry eye confusing is the symptoms overlap with other conditions. This is why you need an eye exam to be diagnosed with dry eye.
Some dry eye occurs when the eye is not producing enough tears. Common reasons are:
Another major cause of dry eye is the evaporation of the tear film. This often triggered by:
If Dr. Ellis thinks you may have dry eye, he’ll ask you to complete a brief questionnaire. This questionnaire will check if you have any lifestyle or environmental triggers.
He will perform special tests to measure how long it takes the eye to make tears. He will also test the volume and quality of your tears.
For some patients with mild symptoms, making small lifestyle changes can help. These can include:
If lifestyle changes don’t work, your doctor may recommend prescription medications. A common place to start is with prescription eye drops.
These are often used in combination with or instead of artificial tears. Prescription eye drops can help decrease inflammation. They can also help the eye produce more natural tears.
There are a variety of tiny punctal plugs used to plug the tear ducts and keep tears in the eye. Punctal plugs are either semi-permanent or permanent. If they don’t work, Dr. Ellis can easily remove them.
Lipiflow is a treatment for dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. Blockage of these glands can cause the eyes to appear red. MGD can cause irritation, soreness and dryness. Lipiflow is only used for dry eye sufferers with meibomian gland dysfunction. This is because Lipiflow targets the meibomian gland.
Lipiflow is a device that uses thermal pulse technology. This technology applies heat and gentle pressure to the eyelids.
Sterile “activators” are placed under and over the eyelids. When the activators are in place, the doctor begins the treatment.
The machine applies heat and gentle pressure to the inner eyelids. This is called Vectored Thermal Pulse (VTP).
A therapeutic motion is then applied to the outer eyelids at the same time. The actual procedure takes less than 15 minutes.
Lipiflow treatments unblock the meibomian glands and allow them to produce lipids again.
The procedure is not painful. The adaptors used never make contact with the surface of the eye.
Many patients describe a sensation that’s like a gentle massage to the eyes. Patients may experience minor discomfort for the first hour after Lipiflow. This goes away quickly.
Yes. Lipiflow is a medical device approved for use by the FDA.
Like most treatments, there are certain eye conditions where Lipiflow shouldn’t be used. This includes if you’ve recently had an eye injury, surgery, or infection. Dr. Ellis can discuss the benefits and risks of Lipiflow and your eye conditions.
You shouldn’t expect immediate results after Lipiflow. The glands need time to start producing the oily protective film. It can take 6-8 weeks before the greatest effect and your symptoms improve.
At this point, many patients experience relief of eye discomfort as a result of Lipiflow.
The positive effects of Lipiflow usually last about 12 months. Although the treatments are not permanent, the procedure can be safely repeated.
Looking for relief from your dry eye symptoms? Schedule your dry eye appointment at Ellis Eye in San Francisco, CA today!
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