Dry Eye FAQ’s
What is dry eye?
Dry eye is a common chronic medical condition that can impact the health of your eye, your vision, and your lifestyle if left untreated. There are two primary types of dry eye; Evaporative dry eye which is associated with deficiency in the oily layer of you tear film and Aqueous-deficient which is associated with deficiency in the water layer of your tear film. As part of our dry eye examination, the doctor will use several tests and diagnostic tools, including a LipiView Analysis and TearLab Osmolarity test, to asses and identify the root cause of your dry eye symptoms and recommended the best treatment for you.
How do I know if I suffer from dry eye?
People who suffer from dry eyes can experience one or more of the following symptoms: dryness, excessive tearing, discomfort and irritation, sensitivity to light, grittiness, discharge, feeling of foreign body sensation, eye fatigue, burning or stinging sensation, redness and vision disturbances. The best way to determine if your symptoms are a result of dry eye, it’s best to schedule an examination with your eye doctor so you can be properly diagnosed and learn about the best treatment options for you.
I've been diagnosed with dry eye, but my eyes constantly water. How is this possible?
Many people are surprised to learn that eyes that tear or water constantly are actually very dry. Although excessive tearing seems like a contradiction, it is a very common symptom of dry eye. When your eyes are not retaining enough moisture due to either poor tear production, rapid tear evaporation, or issues with tear drainage, your eyes may begin producing an excess amount of tears to compensate.
What treatments are available to treat dry eye?
There are various treatment options available at The Eye Institute of Utah. Here are a few of the most common treatments:
- Lubrication (artificial tears, gels and ointments)
- Punctal plugs
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment
- Surgery on the tear ducts or tear drainage system
In addition to one or more of the above treatment options, your doctor may recommend blinking exercises, warm compresses, fish oil and flax seed supplements, and tips to improve lid hygiene to give you the best improvement in your dry eye symptoms.
What is LipiFlow?
LipiFlow® is a 12 minute, in-office treatment that uses a single-use eye piece to relieve blockage of all the meibomian glands in both the upper and lower eye lids. The LipiFlow® treatment applies directed heat and massaging pressure to the eyelids, which help loosen and unclog blocked meibomian glands. After the treatment, the meibomian glands can start to function properly and produce the natural oil that is needed to keep your eyes and tear film hydrated. Patient’s that have been diagnosed with evaporative dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction, may greatly benefit from the LipiFlow® treatment.
Is my eye affected during the LipiFlow treatment?
The activator is shaped to prevent contact with the front surface of your eye (cornea).
What are meibomian glands?
Meibomian glands are the oil producing glands in your eye lids. Overtime, these glands become blocked and don’t produce enough oil, which may contribute to your symptoms of dry eye. Oils, or lipids, are an important component of your tears, as they help keep your eyes moisturized and prevent tear evaporation. Restoring regular oil flow can improve dry eye symptoms.
Is the LipiFlow or IPL Treatments covered by insurance?
At this time, both Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and LipiFlow® are not covered by medical insurance. We CAN bill your dry eye examination and LipiView testing to your medical insurance however.
How long do the benefits of the LipiFlow treatment last?
Results vary from patient to patient. It may take several weeks to feel the full effect of symptom relief. The effectiveness of a single LipiFlow treatment may last up to two years, depending on each patient. It’s important to understand that dry eye is a chronic condition, and LipiFlow® is not a cure. The goal of LipiFlow is to restore oil production, improve symptoms, and prevent the progression of the disease. For the best, long term results, repeated LipiFlow treatments may be recommended.
Is there a cure for dry eye?
Unfortunately, there is currently no permanent cure for dry eye. Dry eye disease is a chronic condition that can be managed and controlled with regular treatment compliance. Technology has advanced tremendously throughout the last decade to offer new and exciting treatments for dry eye that can help offer more symptom relief and prevent the progression of the disease. Our advanced dry eye clinic is designed to offer our patients a full spectrum of testing and treatment options to battle the effects of chronic dry eye.
*Individual Results May Vary