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Vision Channel
Reported December 7, 2012

Goodbye to Dry Eye: The New 12 Minute Treatment--Research Summary

BACKGROUND:   Dry eye syndrome is a common disorder of the tear film.  Dry eyes occur when tears are not able to provide enough moisture for the eyes.  For example, dry eyes will occur if the eyes are not producing enough tears or if the tears are poor quality.  Tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus.  They help make the surface of the eye clear and smooth while protecting against infection.  For some dry eyes can occur when there is an imbalance in the composition of tears.  Dry eyes can cause the eyes to sting and burn. Certain situations may cause you to feel this pain of dry eyes, such as while riding a bike, or looking at a computer screen for long periods of time. (Source:  mayoclincic.com)

RISK FACTORS:  Decreased tear production is a major cause of dry eye syndrome.  Certain factors may put you at risk.  Factors include:

  • Being older than 50.  Tear production diminishes as you get older.
  • Being a postmenopausal woman.  Lack of tears is more common in women, due to hormonal changes.
  • Having a medical condition that reduces tear production.  For example, diabetes, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, vitamin A deficiency,  and  thyroid disorders.
  • Having laser eye surgery.

Eyelid problems can also put you at risk.  Blinking spreads tears across the surface of the eye.  If there is an eyelid problem that makes it difficult to blink, tears may not be spread across the eye adequately.  Certain medications are also a risk factor for dry eye disease; for example, drugs that are used for high blood pressure, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, antihistamines, and isotretinoin.  (Source:  mayoclincic.com)

TREATMENT:  Dry eye syndrome goes beyond having irritated eyes.  It can cause frequent eye infections, scarring on the surface of the eye resulting in vision loss, and decreased quality of life.  For most with mildly dry eyes, treatment includes over-the-counter eye drops.  If symptoms are more severe, treatment depends on what is causing it.  If it is caused by medication, then doctors will suggest switching medications.  Also, if there is an eyelid condition, then the doctor may refer you to an eye surgeon to correct the problem.  (Source:  Mayoclinic.com)

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  A revolutionary way to help treat dry eye syndrome is the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System.  It helps treat dry eyes by opening and clearing blocked glands, which in turn will allow the eyes to resume the natural production of oils (lipids) needed for the tear film. It’s a fast procedure that works by applying heat and light pressure to the inside of the eye lid, allowing lipids to be released from the Meibomian glands.  In a clinical study, 79% of patients reported improved dry eyes within four weeks of a single treatment. (Source:  lipiflow.com)

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