Healthy Living Today: New Dry Eye Treatment - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Healthy Living Today: New Dry Eye Treatment

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Doctors say they're seeing more patients coming in with chronic dry eye.

"It feels like sand paper in your eye or like somebody has a hair dryer on high blowing right in your eye," says patient Christine Dietz, 55. Dietz says her eyes were so dry, she could feel it in her sleep.

"It never stops. it feels like there is not a drop of fluid in your eye. When you blink, you can feel your eye lid going down your eye."

Dietz says she tried drops and hot compresses, but nothing worked.

Her optometrist, Alan Glazier, says like many people suffering from dry eye, clogged glands in her eye lids caused the problems.

So he recommended something new: a procedure to clean out those glands.

"Lipiflow is non surgical and it doesn't use any radiation or anything," Glazier says. "It just uses heat."

The Lipiflow machine attaches to the eyes and for six minutes, generates heat -- about 100 degrees -- into the glands in the eye lid. Then for two minutes, the machine pulsates -- trying to squeeze out any oil clogging those glands. It repeats that six-minute process one more time... so the whole procedure takes 12 minutes.

Glazier says patients typically see results in about three weeks, but need to repeat the procedure every year.

He says it's the best remedy for a problem that's on the rise.

He blames long hours staring at computers, smart phones and tablets.

"Our digital world does havoc on our eyes," Glazier says. "One of the things we don't do when we're staring at a screen is blink as much, so the tears have a greater opportunity to evaporate."

Christine Dietz says she still spends plenty of time on her computer and phone, but with a little more comfort.

"I went right back to work," Dietz says. "No pain to it. It took me probably about two months before I started feeling real results. It's just a world of difference."

Lipiflow isn't necessarily cheap. It costs about $1,700 for both eyes, and insurance doesn't cover it.

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