Lipiflow Procedure: a General View

By: Jacksoneye
November 17th, 2015

Patients who have acquired the Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), a disease resulting from the occlusion of the normal meibomian oil glands inside the eyelids which limit the lipid secreted by these glands and obstruct the gland openings resulting in the most common form of dry eye known as evaporative dry eye. When this problem occurs, the Lipiflow procedure may be an actual cure for this problem once diagnosed by the dry eye doctor.

What is the Lipiflow Procedure?

LipiFlow Dry Eye TreatmentWhat is Lipiflow? The Lipiflow procedure is a curative treatment where a device that produces heat and mild lid pressure is applied to the patient’s eyelids (most patients state it feels like an eyelid massage), so that the blocked lipids will flow back normally into the tear film. Patients who need to undergo this treatment will first have their eyes screened by a fomal eyelid examination and lipiview tear film analysis to verify any blocked glands which are often associated with this specific dry eye problem and if diagnosed, the most appropriate eye treatment is prescribed such as Lipiflow.

What to expect during a Lipiflow treatment?

Below are the following procedures that an eye patient will have to observe:

  • Patient will be asked to either sit comfortably on a reclined chair or lie down.
  • 1 to 2 drops of mild anesthetic are put into the affected eye or eyes. Both eyes are treated simultaneously.
  • Lipiflow disposable eyepiece with lid warmer is put under your eyelids and their is a built-in eye shield to protect the eyeball while th treatment is occurring.
  • Patient will be requested to close his/her eyes around the eyelid device.
  • The device will be then activated where the patient will feel minor eyelid pressure and a warming temperature on the eyelids.
  • The eyelid pressure will have varied modes which may include slow increasing pressure and pulsation for several stages for the full 12 minute treatment is completed to assure the removal of the blockages from the glands.

Level of pain of Lipiflow procedure

Based on reported medical studies, the average level of pain/discomfort felt during the entire lipiflow procedure only resulted to moderation, from a scale of 1-10 to 1.4 only. If a patient complains too much pain during the treatment, the eye doctor will make the necessary adjustment to reduce the pressure or pause for a while. In most cases, any discomfort is no longer visible after the procedure. In the majority of cases, the patient says the procedure feels like an eyelid massage and is quite relaxing.

Potential side effects

  • Possibility of only minimal improvement on a patient’s dry eye condition and blocked glands.
  • Sometimes the glands can remain the same as before lipiflow procedure.
  • Inflammation of the glands.
  • Minimal worsening of the eyelid gland blockage.
  • Blurred vision (transient for minutes only).
  • Symptoms of dryness, burning sensation, discharge.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Other eye medications may needed to control flare ups in the future.
  • Repeat treatment need has been reported to be between 6-36 months after the initial treatment.

Finding the right cure for dry eyes should be left in the hands of an expert eye doctor trained to do this particular condition. To prevent serious adverse effect from happening, always tell your complete health history with your eye doctor including present medications being taken.