Many patients frustrated due to difficulty tolerating contact lenses, working on the computer, or reading due to eye discomfort come to Chicago Cornea Consultants™. These symptoms may be a sign of blepharitis. Defined as chronic low-grade eyelid inflammation, blepharitis can cause a variety of symptoms including burning, redness, foreign body sensation, pain, chronic discharge, eyelid thickening, styes, dry eye, and corneal surface irregularity. One of the manifestations of blepharitis is meibomian gland dysfunction. The meibomian glands are tiny tubular structures inside the eyelid responsible for production of the lipid layer of the tear film. If inflamed, the gland openings, located just behind the eyelashes, may become blocked with thickened and ineffective secretions. If the secretions do not contribute properly to the tear film, tears evaporate too rapidly, causing dry eye and irritation. Ways to treat the condition include warm compresses, eyelid cleaning with baby shampoo or scrubs, and application of antibiotic and steroid medications to the eyelid margin. Lid warming may be the most crucial component of treatment but can be troublesome and imprecise if done at home.
LipiFlow, an eyelid warming system for blepharitis is an office-based treatment that can offer patients months of relief from many aggravating symptoms. This is a safe, comfortable 12 minute application of precisely calibrated pulsating heat directly to the eyelids via a customized device. The effect – more normalized tear film and more comfortable eyes – can last up to a month after a single treatment. This innovative technology is to be offered soon by the doctors of Chicago Cornea Consultants™.
To see the abstract for the paper in Cornea: http://journals.lww.com/corneajrnl/toc/2012/04000 (copies may be available by contacting Chicago Cornea Consultants™)
To learn more from TearScience, the manufacturer of LipiFlow: http://www.tearscience.com/en/.