Calling all Netflix lovers, smartphone users, and desk workers! Have you ever heard of a treatment called Lipiflow? If you answered “no”, it’s time to familiarize yourself. It’s one of the leading treatments for dry eyes which – spoiler alert – you might develop one day.
You probably think you’re one of the lucky ones who will never need dry eye treatment. But that’s exactly what I thought, too – and boy, was I wrong. In fact, I didn’t even know I had dry eyes in the first place.
I’ve already written about my dry eye diagnosis and how Lipiflow treatment went in recent blog posts. They essentially document the “Before” and “During” stages of my dry eye journey at HealthOne!
Today, I’m talking about the “After” as in, what happened after my in-clinic treatment. The work doesn’t exactly stop as soon as you leave the Optometrist’s office! Here are all the details you need to know about my life after Lipiflow.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Let’s start off with a recap of dry eyes. Did you know that for a lot of people, their dry eyes are asymptomatic? That’s why you should always be visiting the Optometrist every two years. They have the right tools and knowledge to accurately diagnose you. And if you catch your dry eyes early, it reduces the risk of long-term damage.
For people who do notice symptoms, the most common ones include:
- Watery, itchy eyes
- A stinging or burning sensation
- Feeling like something is stuck in your eyes
- Excessive tearing, especially outside in the cold
- Frequent headaches, especially after looking at screens
If you have these or any other abnormalities with your eyesight, you should schedule a visit with your Optometrist ASAP. They’ll evaluate your symptoms and develop a treatment plan based on how severe they are.
How Do You Fix Dry Eyes?
Just because two people have dry eyes doesn’t mean they’ll receive the same treatment. There are a lot of variables an Optometrist will consider, such as:
- The type of dry eyes you have. Screentime is the #1 contributing factor, but there are other reasons why a person can develop dry eyes. Examples include certain diseases, medications, and even LASIK eye surgery.
- What symptoms you’re experiencing.
- How much your symptoms interfere with your daily life.
- Lifestyle factors (I.e., If you work in front of a computer).
Based on your answers, they’ll prescribe one or many of the following treatment options: at-home therapies, blink exercises, and in-clinic dry eye treatment (Lipiflow).
Dry Eye Treatment
Lipiflow is a treatment option offered at dry eye specialty clinics. Specifically, it treats severe cases of dry eyes as a result of Meibomian gland dysfunction (aka the type that develops when you look at screens for too long).
The Optometrist attaches small applicators to the eyelids, which apply targeted heat and gentle pulsations to the blocked Meibomian glands. This heats up the blockages and also breaks them down. The result? You guessed it – more oils and fewer symptoms of dry eyes.
Lipiflow is great because the procedure only takes 12 minutes. It’s also completely painless – if anything, it’s soothing to sit back and relax during the treatment! Following the procedure, an Optometrist will sit down with the patient to go over their at-home care routine. Here are the products that I was prescribed.
Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
Eye drops are a useful product if you experience dry eyes. There are a lot of different types which can help by supplementing the type of tears you're missing. Dr. Amy Law prescribed two types for me:
- Lotemax® Eye Drops. They’re an anti-inflammatory eye drop that Optometrists usually prescribe to help patients recover from eye surgery. Yes, Lipiflow is a painless procedure, but it still applies light pressure to your eye glands. Some extra TLC from these drops meant my glands could recover more quickly. I used them 2x a day for 2 weeks.
- I-DROP® MGD Eye Drops. These are artificial tears that helped alleviate my symptoms. They work by increasing the oily layer of my tear film, which reduces how quickly they evaporate (and cause dry eyes). I used them 3x a day for 8 weeks.
If you also get Lipiflow, you can expect eye drops to be prescribed as part of your aftercare treatment. The effects of Lipiflow take 6-8 weeks to take peak effect, so the drops help manage dryness while the glands recover.
Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
So, eye drops are a given in the world of dry eye recovery. But which ones are the best? Do they all provide relief? It all depends on your unique condition because drops can come in different strengths and consistencies.
For example, our Optometry clinic at HealthOne may also prescribe:
- I-DROP® PUR Eye Drops. These provide relief for patients with mild to moderate chronic dry eyes.
- I-DROP® PUR GEL Eye Drops. These provide relief for patients with moderate to severe chronic dry eyes.
We prescribe products from I-MED Pharma because they specialize in dry eye diagnosis and management. They offer some of the best eye drops for dry eyes on the market, and I can confidently say that my eyes felt great from using the I-MED MGD after Lipiflow.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
Along with the eye drops, Dr. Amy Law also prescribed the I-RELIEF Hot & Cold Therapy Eye mask. Also referred to as a “bruder mask”, it’s an eye mask that you put in the microwave for 30-seconds. I was instructed to use it for 10-15 minutes every night before bed.
In all honesty, this was my favourite part of life after Lipiflow! I felt the effects after every time I used it. It achieves a similar result to the Lipiflow therapy by heating up the oils and allowing them to flow more easily. Every time I used it, I had blurry vision for a few minutes (which was a sign that my oils had indeed been kicked into high gear!).
There are other home remedies for dry eyes available as well, including:
- I-DEFENCE, a dry-eye ointment.
- I-LID ‘N LASH, a daily cleansing gel.
Home remedies are an important part of the dry eye puzzle. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as getting Lipiflow and never having to worry about your symptoms again! Daily upkeep is always required for a few weeks following your treatment, after which your Optometrist will indicate which products you can wean off of.
Personally, it’s been over 6 months since I got Lipiflow. I no longer use the eye drops, but I use my bruder mask once a week just for upkeep. The third thing I’ve implemented in my life after my dry eye diagnosis is proper blinking form and blink exercises.
Can Blinking Help Dry Eyes?
Yes! The reason so many people deal with dry eyes is because they aren’t blinking correctly.
This is why Dr. Andrew Liang, our Optometrist, recommends taking frequent breaks from screentime. “Our eyes have to exert effort when focusing on near objects, and like all muscles, they do get fatigued if overused,” he shares. “I would recommend looking at distant objects (I.e. out a window or hallway) for 10 minutes every 30-40 minutes that you spend in front of a screen.”
You can also use these breaks to practice some blinking exercises. Andrew suggests doing a forced blink about 10-15 times. “The reason is because the blink is necessary to prevent dry eyes, however studies show our blink decreases in quality and quantity in front of a screen.”
You heard it here first – give your eyes a break and practice your blinking!
Life After Lipiflow
Now that it’s been over 6 months from my Lipiflow treatment, I can safely say that my eyes are feeling great. They feel a lot less tired at the end of the workday and I’m even experiencing fewer headaches!
The home remedies I did after treatment were easy and didn’t interfere with my lifestyle. The bruder mask actually encouraged me to disconnect from the outside world for a few minutes each day (which is something we could all use a little bit more of).
It was a big surprise to receive my dry eye diagnosis, but I’m glad I got my eyes checked when I did. Dr. Amy Law, Dr. Andrew Liang and the whole team at HealthOne made it an incredibly smooth process for me!
Whether you experience dry eye symptoms or just spend a lot of time on screens (like me), it’s always a good idea to get your eyes checked. Optometrists recommend that adults come in every 2 years for an eye exam. Are you due for a visit?
One Life. Live Inspired.