If you or someone you know is experiencing burning, itching, redness, scratchy, sandy, and/or irritated eyes, these symptoms may be occurring because of a condition known as dry eyes. Even if you already have been diagnosed with dry eyes, the “solution” provided by your physician may be offering only temporary, short-term relief. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We talked with Ophthalmologist James E. Croley III, M.D., about LipiFlow, a clinically proven method for dry-eye suffers. Dr. Croley has been offering LipiFlow since 2012, almost immediately after the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in the United Sates. He is the founder and owner of Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida with offices in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres and Bonita Springs.
What is dry eye?
Dr. Croley: People with dry eyes typically have clogged glands, making it difficult to produce tears and often causing burning sensations. Often, these people either do not have good quality tears or they just are not producing enough tears. Of course tears are needed to maintain a healthy front surface of our eyes, and they also provide us with clear vision. Dry eye is quite common, and among older adults this condition can be chronic. Many dry eye suffers can’t even wear contact lenses comfortably, or participate in activities such as riding a bicycle or other outdoor recreation.
What is LipiFLow®?
Dr. Croley: LipiFlow® is a revolutionary eye treatment that we have found to be effective in long-term relief for patients with evaporative dry eyes. It is an assessment tool used by eye doctors to gauge the oil layer, or lipid layer, of a patient’s eyes. LipiFlow helps to determine the root problem and treat the actual health issue, not the symptoms. Based on a full evaluation, if a patient does have evaporative dry eye, we can then recommend a corrective course of action.
How does it work?
Dr. Croley: LipiFlow applies heat and pressure inside the eyelids to unclog glands and thus produce the oily tear film layer needed to keep eyes from drying out. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis in our accredited Dry Eye Center at Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, and takes less than 15 minutes. LipiFlow treatment requires just one office visit, and has been proven to improve dry eye conditions in 80 percent of patients, although results may vary.
What if you determine that I do not suffer from evaporative dry eyes? What then?
If you do not have dry eyes, that’s great news! But if you still have days when your eyes feel scratchy or dry, there is some self-help tactics that may work for you:
• This may sound odd, but be sure you are blinking regularly! Especially when using a computer or mobile devices over lengthy periods of time.
• Some people have found nutritional or dietary supplements that have certain fatty acids to be effective in helping to keep their eyes from drying out.
• Put your sunglasses on. A good pair of glasses with a wrap-around frame helps to keep much of the sunlight and wind from reaching your eyes, both of which can contribute to the drying of your eyes.
• In some cases, you may need more humidity while you are indoors.
• Hydrate frequently! Drink lots of water every day.
To be clear, these options may or may not work for everyone, and are only suggestions for those who are not diagnosed with evaporative dry eyes.
If you determined that I do have evaporative dry eyes, what other options are available?
Dr. Croley: Without LipiFlow, dry-eye sufferers have options, such as applying warm compresses, artificial tears, punctual plugs, Restasis, and other treatments. Again, LipiFlow is the only FDA-approved treatment for dry eyes secondary to Meibomian Gland Disease.
How do I know if I am a
candidate for LipiFlow?
Dr. Croley: Simply give us a call at (239) 949-1190 to set up an evaluation to determine if you suffer from evaporative dry eye. Visit us online at floridacataract.com for more information.
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