If you or someone you know are experiencing burning sensations and abrasions in the eyes that limit your everyday living activities, you may have dry eyes. Or, if you already have been diagnosed with dry eyes, the “solution” provided by your physician may be offering only temporary, short-term relief.
So we talked with Ophthalmologist James E. Croley III, M.D., about LipiFlow, a clinically proven method for dry-eye suffers. Dr. Croley has been offering LipiFlow® since 2012, almost immediately after the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in the United Sates. He is the founder and owner of Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida with offices in Southwest Florida, including a location in Bonita Springs.
What is dry eye?
Dr. Croley: People with dry eyes typically have clogged glands, making it difficult to produce tears, often causing burning sensations in their eyes. This causes very uncomfortable living. In fact, many people with dry eyes are unable to wear contact lenses comfortably, or participate in activities such as riding a bicycle or other outdoor recreation. Dry eyes can really limit a person’s lifestyle.
What is LipiFLow?
Dr. Croley: LipiFlow is a revolutionary eye treatment that we have found to be effective in long-
term relief for patients with evaporative dry eyes. This procedure gets to the root of the problem, and treats the actual health issue — not the symptoms. This is a key point worthy of repeating: We treat the actual issue causing dry eyes, not the symptoms that develop because of dry eyes.
Tell us a little more about LipiFlow
Dr. Croley: LipiFlow is an innovative treatment proven effective for people who suffer from dry eyes caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). This is a progressive disease affecting approximately 300 million people around the world.
Essentially, patients with dry eyes experience blockages in the oil-producing meibomian glands, which are located in the eyelids. With LipiFlow, the glands are unblocked, allowing the glands to once again function more normally, secreting the oily lipids that we need for a healthy tear film.
Clinically proven LipiFlow developed by TearScience may be appropriate for millions of people, including older women, people who have had laser surgery, and patients with diets low in Vitamin A or Omega-3 fatty acids.
How does LipiFlow work?
Dr. Croley: LipiFlow applies heat and pressure inside the eyelids to unclog glands, and thus produces the tears needed to keep eyes from drying. It is performed on an outpatient basis in less than 30 minutes in our accredited Dry Eye Center at Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida. LipiFlow treatment requires just one office visit and can open and clear glands in 15 minutes, produce noticeable results within four weeks and optimize comfort of wearing contact lenses.
What other options are available?
Dr. Croley: Without LipiFlow, dry-eye sufferers have limited options. Some people choose to apply warm compresses or frequently use eye drops up to four or five times a day. Again, these may provide temporary, short-term relief. But imagine the inconvenience and hassle of relying on eye drops so often every day. And we have patients who have told us that warm compresses get old really fast.
Should a person with MGD just live with it and not seek long-term treatment?
Dr. Croley: Any ophthalmologist will tell you Meibomian Gland Dysfunction can have negative, long-term impacts on a person’s ocular health and vision. If the condition is not treated, MGD almost certainly will get worse as time goes on. That means a life of eye fatigue, dryness, redness, burning and irritation.
How do I know if I am a candidate for LipiFlow?
Dr. Croley: If long-term ocular health is important to you, or to someone you know, simply give us a call to set up an evaluation. I will personally screen you for MGD to determine whether you suffer from evaporative dry eye. We hear from a lot of patients about their dry eye symptoms.
About Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida
Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida diagnoses and treats eye conditions and diseases such as blurred vision, dry eyes, glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachments, corneal issues, burns and other wounds. Led by Dr. Croley for more than 35 years, this team offers a full range of services, including Lasik laser surgery, eyelid lifts, Precision Cataract Surgery and Dry Eye Syndrome treatments.
The practice operates a nationally accredited dry-eye treatment center and one of the few practices in the world to offer LipiFlow, MiBo Thermoflo, Kerato5, Tearosmolarity and other testing for the diagnosis and treatment of dry eyes.
Dr. Croley has three offices in Lee County, including one at 4061 Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs. Call (239) 949-1190. Online at www.floridacataract.com.