Many people consider dry eye to be a condition that results when your eyes don't produce enough tears. While this may be a part of the problem, it actually often is not all there is to it. Instead, your dry eyes may be caused, in whole or in part, by the lack of a sufficient lipid layer.
The lipid layer of tears is there to keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. If this layer is too thin or doesn't exist at all, tears evaporate faster than your tear glands can replace them. This causes dry eye, general irritation, and other problems.
This lipid layer is produced by a row of glands in your eyelids called Meibomian glands. When they work properly, a new layer is deposited on the surface of your eyes every time you blink. However, these glands can become clogged over time. If they stay clogged for too long, they atrophy and fall away. This condition is known as Meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD.
LipiFlow is a new system designed specifically to treat MGD. It uses a combination of heat and physical pulsation to clear clogged Meibomian glands and get the oil flowing again. The heat is applied to the glands to liquefy the congealed oil, and the massage-like pressure helps to expel it from the oil canals. After enough treatments, the canals should be cleared and the glands will be able to get oil to your eyes once again.
Johnson & Johnson, the company behind the TearScience division, has included many safety features in its LipiFlow system. The heat is carefully controlled so that it will not damage your corneas, and the pressure is also carefully controlled and monitored. A domed cover further protects the orb of the eye being treated. The parts of the LipiFlow device that contact your eye and eyelids are also disposable, one-use units, so you don't have to worry about sterilization issues. This combination of features ensures that LipiFlow is very safe for your eyes.
These treatments are available at optometrists and other eye professionals around the United States. For LipiFlow in Los Angeles, consider Positive Eye Ons. We have been in business since 1989 and added our optometrist in 1994, so we have plenty of experience with helping people like you enjoy great vision and eye comfort.
To get started, just make an appointment with our optometrist in Manhattan Beach. He'll examine your eyes for MGD, and if you have it, we'll gladly schedule you for LipiFlow treatments to improve the condition. Soon, you should notice that your eyes are less dry and irritated!