Your Healthy Family: What’s the cause of your dry painful eyes?

1:02 PM, Apr 04, 2018

Do you suffer from dry eye?  If you do it’s not from the dry air here in Colorado.  Eyes dry out when the protective coating of tears breaks down.  Tears have many functions, they lubricate the eye, protect it from infection, and wash away foreign particles.  Tears are replenished when we blink.

One key ingredient in tears are oils called Lipids that are produced in a gland in your eyelids called meibomian glands.  When those glands stop working correctly or clog up that can lead to discomfort and dry eyes.

Tyler Brown is a technician in the Dry Eye Clinic and Abba Eye Care in Colorado Springs.  Tyler says people with dry eye will experience, ”constant dryness, grittiness, scratchiness sometimes even blurred vision due to dry eye.  Watering is one of the key signs of Meibomian Gland dysfunction, because the oil layer is not there to hold onto the water layer.”

Abba has a new procedure they have been using for about a year that helps with dry eye called LipiFlow.  “The LipiFlow treatment is the only F.D.A. approved treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction, which is  a chronic progressive disease due to clogging in the meibomian glands.”

A translucent view of the eyelid shows the health condition of the meibomian glands.  Healthy glands are straight up and down, narrow and evenly spaced in the eyelid.  When the glands begin to clog they swell because the oils are not expressed.  If the condition persists the glands begin to die off creating space in the eyelid.

Here’s how Tyler describes the LipiFlow procedure, “We numb the eyes and we do a quick cleaning of the lids, just to get any excess debris off them.  Then we insert the activators on the eye and start the treatment.  The treatment lasts about 12 minutes.  One side of the activator cap placed on the eye heats up to about 10 degrees warmer than the body temperature.  The bladders massage and pulsate on the eye and under the eyelid, basically the heating up that hardened oil in the glands, and the gentle massaging expresses the hardened oil."

If the thought of having something placed on your eyeball sounds uncomfortable Tyler says, “I’m not the Dentist, and I don’t like hurting people.  It’s actually very relaxing and very comforting I’m told.  We usually turn on some soft music.  I’ve had multiple patients fall asleep during the treatment.”

Tyler tells me there are only 14 LipiFlow machines in Colorado.  While it is approved by the F.D.A. it’s not covered by insurance.  if you have questions you can follow up with the folks at Abba Eye Care in Colorado Springs.

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