LipiFlow is a thermal pulsation treatment produced by TearScience (Morrisville, NC) invented by Dr. Donald Korb (Boston, MA) that received FDA approval in July 2011 established as safe and effective in the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and its role leading to evaporative dry eye. This treatment has been available at Duke Eye Center since October 2011 when Duke became the first medical center in the country to offer this treatment on a commercial, non-experimental basis. Alan N. Carlson, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Chief of the Corneal and Refractive Surgery Service at the Duke Eye Center has found this treatment extraordinarily successful in a large percentage of patients that have experienced an inadequate response to other treatments such as warm compresses, lid scrubs, artificial tears. Restasis, Azasite, Lacrisert, IPL (laser), and painful meibomian gland probing. Treatment with LipiFlow is reported by patients as overall comfortable and response in many cases occurs shortly after treatment and appears to improve further over the following few months. Clinical response is less predictable in patients with extensive meibomian gland “drop out” or loss from permanent atrophy. Dr. Carlson serves as a consultant for TearScience.
The following patient underwent LipiFlow thermal pulsation treatment 8-weeks ago. She had fairly severe symptoms prior to treatment consisting of eye fatigue, burning, redness, foreign body sensation (“sand in my eyes”), with a sense that her eyelids were “dragging” across her ocular surface. The discomfort was so severe that she was treated with bandage contact lenses to relieve the discomfort. She has thus far experienced remarkable progress and has offered to share this experience with others suffering from dry eye symptoms.