At Eye Care North we are introducing an alternative treatment approach for those suffering from dry eye disease. With specialized equipment, our doctors perform an in-office treatment to help promote the production of your own natural oils in your tears.
Normally, our tears consist of three layers: a protein/mucous layer at the bottom, a water/nutrient layer in the middle, and an oil/fatty acid layer at the top. The oil layer helps to prevent too much evaporation of the tears. As we blink, the eyelids evenly spread the tears over the eye surface.
The glands that produce the oil layer are found at the margin of the eyelids and are called meibomian glands (mi bo' mee an - after German physician Heinrich Meibom). They secrete oils when you blink to lubricate the eye surface and prevent evaporation. In short, when these glands get inflamed or clogged up and stop secreting normal oils, we call it "meibomian gland dysfunction". Without the oils, the eyes dry out. The primary causes of MGD are age, genetics, hormone changes, diet, and lifestyle. Over 80% of dry eye disease is believed to be caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. Symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction include blurred vision that clears when you blink, contact lens intolerance, redness, burning, watering, light sensitivity, grittiness, and uncomfortable eyes.
The Expression Treatment Protocol typically consists of four office visits spaced one to several months apart depending on the severity of the condition. Our doctor uses specialized instruments to unblock clogged oil glands and help restore proper functioning. The treatment helps improve the secretion of the oil layer in the tear film by getting rid of blockages and decreasing inflammation in the oil-producing glands of your eyelids.
Check out the next video of the procedure if you're not disturbed by gross medical eye videos! What you will see coming out during the expression treatment are the hardened oils that have turned into a wax-like paste and are clogging the eyelid oil glands.
In some cases, immediate relief can be enjoyed after only one treatment. Typically it will take four treatments for maximum relief. While this treatment is not for all types of dry eyes, it has a high rate of success among those with evaporative dry eye disease caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.
At your first treatment, you will receive a specialized compress to aid with your home-based therapy.
Our doctor will also provide you with a customized dry eye treatment plan. A combination of office-based treatment and home-based treatment is used to maximize results and is custom tailored to the severity of your condition. Typically, the benefits of treatment last around 12 months, however, we recommend you maintain the home-based treatment compress and nutrient-based supplements indefinitely to prevent the blockages from forming and the inflammation from returning again.
Do you or someone you know suffer from dry eyes? Schedule an appointment to determine whether you are a good candidate for this treatment.