If you have dry eyes, your eye doctor has several treatments to reduce your discomfort. They can recommend a treatment plan after determining the cause of your dry eyes.
Your eye doctor may recommend IPL therapy or LipiFlow to improve your symptoms. Both treatments can remove blockages in your meibomian glands, but the recommended treatment depends on your dry eye needs.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when your tears cannot keep your eyes hydrated, leading to discomfort and irritation.
This condition can cause several uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- A burning feeling in the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Gritty eyes
Dry eyes occur because of issues in the tear film, 3 layers (mucus, water, and oil) that keep your eyes clean and protected. When issues arise in the tear film, it can lead to dry, irritated eyes.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eyes can have many potential causes. Your eyes can become dry due to age, medication use, medical conditions, wind, smoke, or dry air.
Issues with your tear film can lead to:
- Increased tear evaporation: Without enough oil in the tear film, your eyes can evaporate too quickly, leading to dry eyes. Meibomian gland dysfunction is a common cause of dry eyes.
- Decreased tear production: You tend to produce fewer tears as you age, but medical conditions and medication use can affect this production, leading to dry eyes.
How Can You Treat Dry Eye?
Dry eyes can significantly affect your quality of life, but they are treatable with help from your eye doctor. They can recommend several ways to reduce dry eye symptoms, from over-the-counter eye drops to in-office treatments to improve oil flow to the tear film.
Your eye doctor may recommend IPL therapy or LipiFlow to help remove blockages in your meibomian glands, which supply oil to your tear film.
What is IPL?
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy helps treat dry eyes with pulsing light. This treatment reduces inflammation in the blood vessels around the eye and removes blockages in your meibomian glands. Improving oil flow to the tear film helps your tears last longer, preventing dry eyes.
IPL has several benefits for your eyes—it’s a generally comfortable treatment with maintainable results. Research has found that 87% of patients receiving IPL experience improved tear film breakup time (how long it takes for dry spots to appear on the eye after blinking). Additionally, it’s noninvasive, meaning you don’t need to worry about severe side effects after treatment.
How Does IPL Treat Dry Eye?
During treatment, your eye doctor uses a handheld device to reduce inflammation and warm the eyelids. The pulsing light helps remove blockages in the meibomian glands.
What is LipiFlow?
Like IPL, LipiFlow treats dry eyes caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. It uses heat and massage to improve your symptoms, unclogging the meibomian glands and stimulating oil flow back to the tear film.
The LipiFlow device features 2 parts that help treat dry eyes, warming the eyelids and placing pressure on them.
How Does LipiFlow Treat Dry Eye?
During treatment, the heating part of the LipiFlow device goes onto your eyelids, warming them to help remove blockages in your meibomian glands.
After warming the eyelids, the second part of the device gently presses down. Placing pressure on the eyelids helps stimulate oil flow to your tear film, improving dry eye symptoms.
While heat and pressure may sound unpleasant, LipiFlow is typically comfortable for many patients, and treatment takes around 12 minutes to complete.
Which Treatment is Best for Dry Eye?
When it comes to dry eyes, there isn’t one treatment better than the other. IPL and LipiFlow can help remove blockages in the meibomian glands, but one treatment may benefit you more. The best treatment for dry eye depends on your unique needs—which your optometrist can determine during a comprehensive eye exam.
Your eye doctor can complete a dry eye assessment during your exam, helping them identify the cause of your symptoms. After examining your eyes, your optometrist will recommend a customized treatment plan to help you enjoy clear, comfortable vision.
Find Dry Eye Relief
Dry eyes can be irritating and uncomfortable, but they don’t need to be a forever problem. You can improve your symptoms with help from your optometrist. They can recommend the best dry eye treatment for your needs.Contact Zargar Eyecare if you experience dry eye symptoms.