LipiFlow® Dry Eye Treatment
What is LipiFlow?
The FDA-approved LipiFlow system helps restore production of lipid tear film to treat evaporative dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Using heat and massage, LipiFlow stimulates the meibomian glands in the eyelid to remove blockages and activate oil secretion. MGD is a common condition that is believed to be the most frequent cause of dry eye. Successful treatment can lead to reduced reliance on eyedrops and lasting relief from dry eye symptoms.
Our board-certified ophthalmologists at Riverside EyeCare Professionals, Michael Sumsion, MD and Sean Sumsion, MD, provide comprehensive dry eye diagnosis and treatment services. The state-of-the-art LipiFlow system offers patients diagnosed with meibomian gland dysfunction an option for restoring normal gland activity and reducing symptoms of dry eye syndrome. If you suffer from chronic dry eye and want to learn more about LipiFlow, we encourage you to explore the informational sections provided below:
Who is a Candidate for LipiFlow?
Patients diagnosed with dry eye syndrome caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) are often good candidates for treatment with the LipiFlow system. Candidacy is determined by a comprehensive eye exam, which includes a full evaluation of the tear film and glands. If blockages or lack of activity in the meibomian glands is detected, your ophthalmologist may recommend LipiFlow therapy. Certain temporary ocular conditions or eyelid concerns may prevent some patients from moving forward with LipiFlow treatments immediately.
What Happens During LipiFlow Treatment?
During treatment with LipiFlow, the eyes are protected as gentle heat and massage is applied to the inner eyelids using patented Vectored Thermal Pulse™ (VTP) technology. The elevated temperature and simultaneous massage are designed to soften, break up, and release blockages from the meibomian glands. As the glands are cleared of build-up, production of the natural oils that keep the eyes lubricated is likely to resume. The in-office treatment session typically takes between 10 and 15 minutes and most patients report little to no discomfort during LipiFlow therapy. There is usually no downtime necessary after LipiFlow treatment sessions, and most patients return to their usual activities soon after their appointment. As the lipid layer is restored, patients should begin to notice the symptoms of dry eye subsiding.
Are There Side Effects of LipiFlow?
According to the manufacturer, rare side effects of LipiFlow treatment can include eye or eyelid discomfort, irritation, and/or inflammation, in addition to other ocular symptoms. Drs. Michael and Sean Sumsion are experienced in diagnosing dry eye, evaluating patients for treatment, and performing LipiFlow therapy, which helps to further reduce the occurrence of treatment side effects. If you are worried about side effects, we suggest discussing your concerns with your ophthalmologist to learn more about procedure safety and conditions that may increase risks.
What Results can I Expect from LipiFlow?
The outcome of LipiFlow treatment depends largely upon the nature and degree of the patient’s dry eye symptoms. Each treatment plan is customized to suit the patient’s needs. For some individuals, improvement in dry eye symptoms happens quickly following LipiFlow treatment; however, for others it may take a few days for the treated meibomian glands to resume oil production. In more extreme cases, a series of LipiFlow treatments may be necessary to achieve optimal improvement. LipiFlow often delivers results that are superior to those achieved with prescription ointments and eye drops. While relief from dry eye symptoms can last for about one year or more, LipiFlow is not a cure for MGD.
How Much Does LipiFLow Cost?
The price of LipiFlow treatment varies from patient to patient based on the unique details of his or her custom treatment plan. Patients with more severe dry eye symptoms or those who don’t respond as readily to treatment usually require more sessions to reach optimal results. During your appointment with one of our ophthalmologists, you will be able to learn more about how many LipiFlow treatments you need and the overall cost you can expect. In certain instances, medical insurance may cover all or part of the cost of your LipiFlow therapy. Our helpful team at Riverside EyeCare Professionals can review your plan, explain your benefits, and outline any steps required for approval. We also offer financing through CareCredit®, a third-party lender, and accept a variety of payment options.
For more information about dry eyes and LipiFlow treatment, please contact Riverside EyeCare Professionals to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael Sumsion or Dr. Sean Sumsion.