Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a common eye disease that doesn’t get enough attention. It is often the underlying cause of chronic dry eyes. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is described as any change to the quality of amount of meibum, or oil, produced by tiny glands in the eyelids. A change may occur in response to several different factors. The most common is some degree of blockage preventing the meibomian glands from producing a healthy tear film. Without the sufficient amount of oil in the tear film, tears evaporate from the ocular surface too quickly. To address blocked meibomian glands, Dr. Murrell performs LipiFlow.
What is the Lipiflow Procedure?
LipiFlow is an FDA-cleared medical device that was designed expressly for MGD. The single-use applicator of the device delivers controlled thermal energy to the inner eyelids. The technique is referred to as Thermal Pulsation System because, along with the controlled energy, the device applicator also intermittently presses on the eyelid during the brief procedure. This combination of heat and compression is somewhat like a massage for the glands in the eyelid, helping to naturally express them to release trapped lipids that are causing obstruction.
What to Expect During a Lipiflow Treatment
The LipiFlow procedure does not take long. Patients are generally in the office for about an hour. However, this is because we apply a topical anesthetic to the eyes and gently loosen debris around the eyelids before commencing with the procedure. The LipiFlow treatment itself lasts less than 15 minutes. Both eyes are treated at the same time.Steps to treatment include:
- The doctor places the single-use applicator eyepiece with lid warmer just under the eyelid. There is a built-in eyeshield to protect the eyeball.
- The patient closes their eyes around the device.
- The doctor activates the device to begin its first 6-minute cycle to warm the eyelids.
- During the second 6-minute cycle, the device varies heat with intermittent pressure and pulsation to remove blockages from the meibomian glands.
Does LipiFlow Hurt?
We understand how intimidating it is to have any procedure done on the eyes. Our patients can feel confident knowing that their treatment will not be painful. The anesthetic eye drops numb the surface of the eye, so the presence of the shield is not even felt against the eyeball. The sensation of closing the eyes around the small applicator can feel odd, but is not typically described as painful. On a scale of 1 to 10, patients describe LipiFlow lower than 1.5
It can be challenging to find the right solution for chronic dry eye syndrome. When meibomian gland dysfunction is the underlying cause, LipiFlow may be the ideal treatment. Learn more about this procedure. Contact us at (806) 351-1177 for a visit to our Amarillo office.