Lipiflow: Dry Eye Relief


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Thirty million Americans suffer from dry eye. In fact, the condition is on the rise due to overuse of our digital devices. Now, new technology is giving relief to those dealing with chronic dry eye.

Robin Pearsall is an avid reader. But ten years ago, she couldn’t enjoy a good book.

Pearsall said, “It got to where I felt I had sand in my eye, felt gritty, which is very uncomfortable.”

Turns out Pearsall suffers from dry eye, a condition on the rise. Chandra Mickles, OD, MSc, FAAO, FSLS, Associate Professor & Coordinator of Dry Eye Care Center at Nova Southeastern University says the symptoms are more than just annoying.

“Dryness, scratchy eyes, they feel like something is in their eye, we call it foreign body sensation,” Dr. Mickles said. (Read Full Interview)

She says up to 80 percent of people with dry eye suffer from a common condition called MGD or meibomian gland dysfunction.

“They produce the oil that prevents the tears from evaporating,” Dr. Mickles said.

Up until now, doctors would have to manually push on the glands to get the oil out. Now new technology is changing that. It’s called Lipiflow!

“It’s actually pressing on the glands with a gentle pressure to express them,” Dr. Mickles explained.

FDA approved Lipiflow works by heating up the oil in the glands and then gently expressing them.

The entire process takes 12 minutes. And the best part?

“The studies show that it lasts 12 months,” Dr. Mickles said.

Lipiflow is not covered by insurance yet. But Pearsall feels it’s worth it.

Pearsall said, “I know I’m taking as good care of myself as I can, and I’m buying peace of mind.”

Keeping her eyes healthy and protected for years to come.

Dr. Mickles says if dry eye is left untreated the glands could die and then it’s too late to treat. Right now, one Lipiflow treatment costs between $900 and $1,500 dollars depending on the center. Dr. Mickles recommends patients continue lid hygiene at home such as using warm compresses in between treatments.

Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Dave Harrison, Editor.


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MEIBOMIAN GLAND DYSFUNCTION: Also known as MGD, it is one of the most common eye problems you may have never heard of. Meibomians are certain glands in the eyelids; an average person has between 25-40 in the upper eyelid and 20-30 in their lower eyelid. These glands are meant to secrete oils onto the surface of the eye, helping to keep tears from evaporating too quickly. MGD is a blockage or some other abnormality of these meibomian glands, which prevents them from functioning properly. As a result, tears evaporate too quickly, causing dry eye syndrome (MGD is the leading cause). The risk of MGD increases with age, and a persons’ ethnic background can also be a risk factor. Eye makeup is another contributing cause, as it can clog the openings of the meibomian glands, and some researchers believe contact lenses can also increase the risk of MGD.



TREATING DRY EYE: Someone suffering from dry eye syndrome may experience a scratchy, gritty, dry feeling, almost like a film over the eye, or a burning, itching redness. Sometimes blurred vision is also a symptom, as well as light sensitivity. There is no cure for dry eye syndrome, but many medical treatments are available. Treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the severity of the condition. Sometimes a humidifier or occasional eye drops will do the trick, but others may need surgery. There are multiple options of over-the-counter lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, and these may help relieve dry eye symptoms. Depending on the severity, an ophthalmologist may have to prescribe treatment medications. Another treatment option is artificial tear inserts, similar to a contact lens.



NEW TECHNOLOGY: The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is a cutting-edge device that is designed to heat up and massage away the blockage that causes MGD, in just 12 minutes, in the office of an eye doctor. Once the procedure is complete, patients can go back to driving and resuming all normal activities as before. Improvement can be noticed within three weeks, and by six weeks the full results will be set. Many patients see changes in symptoms right away, but optimally over six to eight weeks.



MORE FROM DR. CHANDRA MICKLES: “The way it works is that it’s basically bringing that oil that’s more like butter consistency to the appropriate melting point so now it’s more oil-like, liquefied, just like if you would heat butter on the stove. And then at the same time what’s important in treating that meibomian gland’s dysfunction it’s also expressing the gland. So you’re heating up the oil but you’re also expressing them. The way that is done with the LipiFlow it’s actually automated, actually pressing on the glands with a gentle pressure to express them. So that’s what’s really unique and innovative about the LipiFlow it’s expressing the gland and heating it at the same time and doing both eyes at the same time. So there’s no really other device right now that I know of that does that.”



Marla Oxenhandler, Public Relations NSU


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Chandra Mickles, OD, MSc, FAAO, FSLS

Read the entire Q&A