A Revolutionary Treatment For The Leading Cause Of Dry Eye
The clinical science behind Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), the leading cause of Dry Eye, and its treatment, is supported by over 25 years of scientific research. The gland blockages that occur because of MGD can be cleared most effectively by gently heating and massaging the inner and outer lid. This is known as thermal pulsation treatment and LipiFlow™ is the only FDA cleared device that provides both inner and outer lid therapy.
The Lipiflow™ System represents more than 10 years of dedicated research and is protected by 37 patents. Lipiflow™ applies simultaneous peristaltic pressure and heat to the meibomian glands. The procedure centres around Vector Thermal Pulse Technology™ (VTP) with heat and pressure being regulated with electronic sensors to control the exact amount of heat and pressure.
Heat therapy helps to melt the contents of the gland to alleviate the blockage and allow a better flow of lipid to be produced. Heat therapies designed for home use eg., hot flannels, heated bean bags, dry bags etc. can reduce symptoms, but have limitations to their effectiveness.
- They do not maintain their temperature and cool down too quickly to have a sustained effect
- The heat can only be applied to the outer eyelid and therefore isn’t targeting the correct area where the glands lie
- In addition the eyelid tissue itself has insulating properties further reducing the effect of the treatment
These limitations have been addressed with Lipiflow™. The system applies constant, controlled, directional heat to the inner surface of the eyelid while protecting the rest of the eye with an insulated shield, thus providing precise, thermally controlled, safe heat to the targeted area. This, in addition to the application of pressure, facilitates the release of secretion from the obstructed gland helping to improve the lipid layer and relieve the symptoms of dry eyes.
As a result, the obstructed meibum is liquefied and expelled out of the gland orifices. This allows the glands the ability to begin refunctioning and hopefully producing more normal meibomian oil with resultant increase in the quality of tears and a reduction of symptoms on the one hand as well as slowing or reversing the damage of obstructed permanently obstructed glands on the other hand.
Dry Eye and MGD Treatment Options
There are many treatments for Dry Eye Symptoms (e.g. such as non-prescription eye drops and warm compresses); however, most only provide short-term symptom relief. For the small percentage of patients who suffer from reduced tear production due to inflammation, there are types of prescription eye drops that can be used such as topical Cyclosporin (Ikervis™) eye drops. For the treatment of both the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease products such as Xiidra (Lifitegrast) can be used. Other short-term symptom alleviating treatments range from natural supplements, to implants that control tear output, to a new method of stimulating tear production by stimulating the inside of the nose using a device called TrueTear. Most of the symptomatic treatment remedies and medications focused on tear replacement or reduction of inflammation do not address the root cause of Dry Eye. None directly treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), the leading cause of dry eye symptoms.
Treating the Symptoms
What Is LipiFlow?
LipiFlow is a treatment device specifically designed for effectively removing blockages from the meibmomian glands, allowing them to properly function and produce the oils that make up the top protective lipid layer of the tear film. Supported by 37 patents and used around the world by leading eye care professionals, LipiFlow is fast becoming the standard of care for MGD with studies demonstrating its safe and effective results. LipiFlow was designed to minimize patient discomfort during a 12 minute in-office treatment that most patients describe as a gently massaging of the eye lids.
How Does LipiFlow Work?
LipiFlow activators are single-use sterile devices that safely and comfortably deliver automated therapeutic energies to the Meibomian glands, while protecting the delicate structures of the patient’s eye. The activators are specifically designed to be placed under and over the eye lids and are contoured above the cornea, so that the activators themselves avoid contact with the core eye surface. The placement of the activators on the eyes and treatment is a simple process that is done with minimal discomfort, on average.
Once the activators are placed on the eyes, treatment begins. The LipiFlow activator delivers a combination of heat and gentle pressure to the inner lids using what is called Vectored Thermal Pulse (VTP), with a simultaneous therapeutic motion on the outer lid. This unique combination of patented vectored heat and gentle adaptive pressure safely removes gland obstruction or old gland content. The entire treatment takes 12 minutes and, as normal gland function recovers, maximum results are usually experienced 6-8 weeks after treatment.
Following successful treatment, the glands can resume normal oil production or what is known as lipids. This oil is essential for a healthy tear film and for protecting the tear layer or watery layer of your eyes.
Treating the Root Cause of Dry Eye
For the overwhelming majority of patients who suffer from Dry Eye symptoms caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), Lipiflow treats the root cause of their dry eye. Over time after treatment, the Meibomian glands may become blocked again due to infrequent blinking from modern lifestyles; thus, the oil in the glands tends to thicken and impedes proper oil production. The treatment is usually effective for a period of 1-3 years and should symptoms return, repeat treatments may be required over the long-term.