New treatment for dry eye

January 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
For some people, "dry eye" can make even blinking a pain.

With every blink, dry eye patient Diana Galson-Kooy said, "I felt like I had a piece of glass in my eye."

Galson-Kooy has suffered with dry eye disease for years. The problem can be caused by things like prolonged contact lens wear, birth control, anti-histamines, and even staring a screen. Evaporative dry eye affects the glands that make tears.

"Her tears that she's making are leaving her eyes much quicker than she should be," said Dr. Ernest Kornmehl, MD Surgeon.

Dr. Kornmehl says, like Diana, the majority of his patients come in for dry eye treatments. For many, he's now recommending a treatment called Lipi-Flow. "It takes 12 minutes and patients go to work immediately after the procedure," said Dr. Kornmehl.

Cups surround the eyelids. They heat up and pulsate to melt blockages in her tear glands. "It doesn't hurt. It just is strange," said Dr. Kornmehl.

In the FDA trial, 79-percent of Lipi-Flow patients showed improvement. The doctor says those improvements can last nine to 15-months. Some Lipi-Flow patients, like Diana, will still need additional treatments. But for others, drops or ointments will work.

Right after Diana's treatment, she said her eyes felt lubricated. It's brought some much needed tears to her eyes.