What do I need to know about dry eye disease?
A protective coating of tears covers the surface of your eye. This tear film serves as a natural protective barrier and is made of three components: a mucin layer, an aqueous or water layer, and a lipid or oil layer. If any of these tear film layers are insufficient, dry eye disease can occur.
The lipid layer is the key to a healthy tear film as it covers the aqueous layer and protects it from evaporating. An insufficient lipid layer occurs when the meibomian glands in your eyelids become blocked. This condition is typically referred to as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), and studies have shown that 86% of dry eye patients have MGD.
What are the symptoms of MGD?
- Red, itchy, irritated eyes
- The feeling of having something in your eye
- Blurred vision
How is MGD diagnosed?
Your eye doctor tests for signs of MGD by lightly compressing the meibomian glands in the lower eyelids and analyzing the meibum (oil) that appears on the lid margin. Meibography, an infrared image that shows the structure of the glands, can also be used to determine if there is damage, clogging, or atrophy of the glands.
What is the iLux Treatment?
The iLux System allows your eye doctor to provide safe, effective treatment using localized heat and compression therapy. This light-based heat source gently warms the inner and outer lid to a safe therapeutic temperature. Dr. DenHartog will gently compress your eyelid to express the melted meibum from the glands. Treatment is complete once the cloudy or clogged meibum is expressed, or once clear meibum appears on the lid margin.
Why is early diagnosis and treatment of MGD so important?
Many people with dry eye and MGD do not realize they have this chronic, progressive condition. If untreated, blocked meibomian glands may atrophy or become permanently blocked, resulting in severe symptoms and blurred vision. Diagnosing and treating MGD before your meibomian glands reach this stage can contribute to a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in visual acuity.
Can iLux relieve my dry eye symptoms?
In an iLux clinical study reviewed by the FDA, patients experienced significant improvement in:
- Dry eye symptoms
- Meibum quality
- Pain and discomfort associated with their dry eye disease
- Visual acuity