Blinking should be painless, but for many dry eye sufferers, it hurts and affects everyday activities like driving, using the computer and watching TV. People with chronic dry eye may have an inadequate protective layer of oils in their tears which can lead them to excessive use of eye drops that can actually worsen the condition.
“Over time, without lubrication from the meibomian glands, the tears evaporate repeatedly and can result in more serious eye conditions, such as long-term damage to the surface of the eye,” states Joanne Shen, M.D., Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic is the first medical center in Arizona and the Southwest to provide a new technology that treats dry eye by targeting blocked eyelid glands. Blocked glands can inhibit production of oil that is necessary for healthy tears needed to lubricate the eyes.
The new treatment, LipiFlow thermal pulsation system, diagnoses and addresses the root cause of the condition — obstructed meibomian glands. When active, these glands lubricate the tear layer, reducing friction caused by the constant rubbing of the eyelids on the eyeballs and providing relief from symptoms such as itchiness, redness, gritty sensation, burning and sensitivity to light.
The LipiFlow treatment requires no downtime or recovery. Patients can go home shortly after the procedure. Results can be experienced within days, and effects of the treatment can improve for several months and up to a year, at which time the patient is reevaluated and may require additional treatment.
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