Dry Eye Disease (aka Ocular surface disease) is extremely common- especially in East Tennessee! It is a chronic and progressive disease that if left untreated may cause severe discomfort. Patients may or may not have symptoms in early stages of the disease, but the degenerative process that causes you to have symptoms later in life can begin at any age. We evaluate your eyes for signs of dry eye at each comprehensive annual exam to ensure to identify it as early as possible. Early intervention is the key to long lasting comfort, and our goal is to keep you comfortable for life.

Over 80% of chronic dry eye is caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Meibomian glands are in your eyelid and produce the oily protective layer of your tears. Normally, this protective layer prevents your tears from evaporating. In MGD, these glands do not produce the oily layer of your tear film properly. Glands progressively become inflamed and their oily secretions become thick like butter or even toothpaste.

Unfortunately, in many patients, these glands stay chronically inflamed which can lead to gland dropout or atrophy. Once a gland has died, it is gone for good. We have a limited number of these Meibomian glands, which makes it especially important to identify and treat this condition early.

There has been a trend toward office based treatments that can restore proper function of the meibomian glands for increased efficacy.  The first instrument designed to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, LipiFlow, was introduced five years ago. This instrument is inserted behind the eyelids and gently applies heat and pressure to release the build up of oils in each meibomian gland. This treatment has been clinically proven to provide relief and restore proper function of the meibomian glands.

iLux: The Equal Alternative

This brings us to our exciting news!!! Over the past few years, clinical trials of a new device have been taking place. When compared to LipiFlow, iLux provided equal improvement in comfort to the patient at 2 and 4 weeks, as well as an equal improvement in clinical signs and symptoms.

patient receiving iLux treatmentWe are thrilled to be one of the first practices in Tennessee to offer the iLux treatment to our patients.  Our doctors believe this treatment has many advantages over previous technology.  The device itself is handheld, so we have direct control of the area of each eyelid to be treated. We are also able to view the output from the oil glands as heat and pressure are applied. This allows for specialized treatment as different areas of the eyelid may require more or less treatment to ensure the blockages have been sufficiently cleared.  In addition, the iLux treatment is more affordable, making it available to more patients.

Contact us today to have a comprehensive Dry Eye Evaluation to see if you may be a good candidate for this exciting new technology.