Lipi Flow

Evaporative dry eye from Meibomian Gland Disease is becoming increasingly common. A variety of treatments are available. Surgeons at Centre for Sight have considerable expertise in this area and also have available (another UK first) LipiFlow to treat Meibomian Gland Disease.

There are two main forms of Dry Eye disease – are you treating the right one?

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Evaporative Dry Eye disease are real and common conditions that affect vision and quality of life. Unfortunately, since we haven’t been able to easily observe the underlying physiology of dry eye disease, it’s been difficult to identify and treat effectively – leaving sufferers frustrated and unable find long-term relief for dry eye symptoms.

Now, with breakthrough technology, it’s possible to treat the root cause of Evaporative Dry Eye: a blockage of eyelid glands called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. These blocked eyelid glands result in a deficiency in the tear film oil, which is responsible for preventing the tears from evaporating too quickly. If you have blocked eyelid glands and in turn “Evaporative Dry Eye”, there is a clinically-proven treatment performed in your doctor’s office that may help you maintain a normal lifestyle by reducing dry eye discomfort.

What causes Evaporative Dry Eye? (also known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction)

Tears are made up of three layers:

  1. Lipid (oil) layer lubricates and prevents evaporation
  2. Aqueous (water) layer nourishes and protects the cornea
  3. Mucin layer adheres tears to the eye

Glands in the eyelids called Meibomian glands create the lipid (oil) layer of tear film. 70% of dry eye disease is caused by evaporative or lipid deficient dry eye. Evaporative Dry Eye disease is most often caused by a blockage or obstruction in the eyelid glands, which can lead to a lipid (oil) deficiency in the tears. Blockage of eyelid glands is call Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.  The cause of obstruction is we believe poor quality oil production and Omega 3 deficiency.  Re-esterified Omega 3 supplements such as Omega Eye are very useful and important in correctlng the underlying cause.

Common Symptoms

  • Dryness
  • Feeling of foreign body in eye
  • Tearing
  • Tiredness
  • Discomfort & irritation
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Itching
  • Grittiness
  • Vision disturbance
  • Discharge
  • Redness

These symptoms may also be accompanied by:

  • Difficulty preforming visual tasks, such as reading, watching tv and driving
  • Inability to wear contact lenses
  • Constant use of eye drops
  • Trouble being out in the sun
  • Symptoms that worsen late in the day

LipiView® – diagnostic technology

The LipiView®, is an instrument used to observe the tear film using digital images. A LipiView image of the tear film can be captured. We at Centre for Sight used the device for 2 years and did not find this had any benefit over traditional dry eye tests.  Testing provided low sensitiivity and specificity which means they were not altogether reliable and for this reason we no longer offer Lipiview.

LipiFlow® – treats the cause of Evaporative Dry Eye

Treatment of Evaporative Dry Eye involves opening the blocked eyelid glands by applying a combination of localised heat therapy and pressure. Previous approaches – such as the use of hot compresses – have been inconvenient and of limited effectiveness and a chore for patients.

The LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System  effectively relieves blockage of the eyelid glands during an in-office treatment. Opening the blocked eyelid glands allows the body to resume the natural production of lipids (oils) needed for the tear film.

Relief, starting at Centre for Sight

Most patients who have the LipiFlow® treatment feel relief of their symptoms within two weeks or sooner.  Some find their condition worsens before it improves, often because toxic secretions within the eyelids are released and irritate the eye for a while.

In a controlled clinical trial the LipiFlow® System showed significant improvement, on average, in the oil secretions from the eyelid glands and in the time that the tears remain on the eye before evaporating. The study also showed significant improvement, on average, in patient self-reported dry eye symptoms. At 4 weeks after LipiFlow® treatment, 79% of patients reported improvement in dry eye symptoms.

LipiFlow treatments and Dry eye consultations

Currently our LipiFlow treatments are carried out at our specialist clinic in Oxshott, Surrey

Pretreatment with Omega Eye for 6 to 12 weeks is advised before undergoing Lipiflow.

Call to find out more and to book a consultation – 0800 0112882.

Author Information

Authored by Sheraz Daya MD FACP FACS FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon & Medical Director, June 2019.

Next review due June 2024.

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