Tear Care® and BlephEx® Treatments for Ocular Surface Disease
About 86% of dry eye (ocular surface disease) comes from an obstruction and inflammation of Meibomian Glands in the lids, causing evaporative dry eye (lack of oily portion of the tears), causing blurry vision, dryness, irritation, increased blinking and red eyes. Dry eye (ocular surface disease) is a complex, multi-factorial, progressive and chronic eye disease with no cure, hence focus is on managing symptoms (feeling better) and preventing meibomian gland atrophy and other ocular complications (decreasing burden of this disease on patient’s life).
TearCare® Treatment addresses obstruction and inflammation of the meibomian glands at the same time, but represents only one part of the treatment regimen for dry eye. BlephEx® Treatment gently exfoliates away lid margin and lash scurf, biofilm and bacterial exotoxins, the main causes of inflammatory lid disease, thereby improving the health of the eyelid. Other auxiliary treatment regimens (such as daily lid hygiene, OM3 supplements and dry eye medications just to name a few) along with regular dry eye follow up visits with your doctor need to be followed for a successful treatment outcomes. Stable ocular surface is important not only for comfortable computer work and reading, but also for successful outcomes of ocular surgeries such as LASIK and Cataract surgery.
What is TearCare®?
TearCare® is an in-office FDA approved procedure used to treat meibomian gland disorders. The sterile single-use flexible eyelid devices gently adhere to the contours of the patient’s eyelids and apply low heat. SmartLidTM technology works in conjunction with the blinking eye to facilitate natural meibum expression as the meibum melts. Manual expression of the glands are then performed by the doctor. The TearCare® procedure is usually repeated every year, but some patients may benefit from a more frequent treatment.
How is TearCare® performed?
SmartLid applicators, which stick using silicone tissue adhesives, will be applied on both upper and lower lids. Treatment will start and a 15-minute timer will be shown on the SmartHub. Optimal heat will be administered through the SmartLids, the heat can be easily adjusted if you feel it’s too warm. This heat, along with your natural blinking, will help unclog the glands. After the 15-minute timer is up, we will remove the SmartLids and you will see the doctor for manual expression. This is when the doctor will use a specialized tool for precise gland clearance to allow for new oil to begin to flow. Anesthetic drops will be administered to increase comfort prior to expression, and antibiotic/steroid combination drops may be used in-office immediately after the procedure.
What should be expected after TearCare® treatment?
Your meibomian glands will be restored to a healthier function, decreasing your discomfort and pain from dry eyes by improving the quality of your natural tears. Your eyes may not feel completely better if you have other concurrent ocular diseases (such as blepharitis or rosacea), have had dry eye for a long time, or have a severe Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Your other dry eye treatments will need to continue after TearCare® and regular dry eye progress evaluations with your doctor will be needed to guarantee good results over time to maintain this chronic condition. TearCare® Treatment may have to be repeated for moderate to severe Meibomian Gland Dysfunction every 6-12 months.
What is BlephEx®?
BlephEx® is an in-office FDA approved procedure used to treat blepharitis, a chronic eyelid inflammation. This procedure effectively removes years of accumulated bacterial biofilm, much like a dental cleaning removes accumulated plaque, also a biofilm. Once the biofilm is removed, your eyelids are cleaner and healthier. A healthy eyelid is critical for normal tear production. The sooner in life that BlephEx® is begun as a routine element of eye care, the better the long-term results. If you wait until you have severe symptoms before seeking treatment, much damage may already be done to your tear glands, as well as your ocular surface.
How is BlephEx® performed?
BlephEx® is a painless in-office procedure performed by your eyecare professional. A revolutionary new patented BlephEx® handpiece is used to very precisely spin a disposable soft medical grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes. This exfoliates and cleans biofilm, which will then be rinsed with a sterile saline solution. The entire procedure lasts about 15 minutes. Most patients simply report a tickling sensation. A numbing drop is usually placed in each eye prior to treatment for increased comfort.
What should be expected after BlephEx® treatment?
After the procedure, home cleaning lid hygiene regimes (warm compresses and lid scrubs) will need to continue on a daily basis, but are only semi-effective long term for some patients, so BlephEx® should be repeated every 6-12 months as determined by your eye doctor. Regular dry eye progress evaluations with your doctor will be needed to guarantee good results over time to maintain this chronic condition.
Patient Instructions for patients prior to TearCare® and BlephEx® appointment(s):
- No eye make-up, mascara, eyeliner, or lash serum use and no false lashes on the day of the procedure.
- No contact lens wear on the day of the procedure.
- Can’t have active stye(s), red eyes, lid erosions or other ocular infections, inflammation or allergies.
- TearCare® is not suitable for those who have allergies to medical grade silicone adhesives.
- You must diligently follow your prescribed dry eye treatment protocol prior and after your procedure(s).
- It is ok to drive after your in-office procedure(s).
- If you are new to the practice, you will need to have an exam with our doctor to establish candidacy for these procedures before scheduling.