Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lipiflow in Australia

After years of hearing nothing but misery from dry eye patients down under who cannot locate any even remotely well equipped dry eye treatment, we're starting to see many more signs of hope that things are improving. One I was reminded of this week is Malcolm McKellar (see his comments on this blog post about use of allogeneic serum in NZ) and now a friend sent me a link to a dr's blog in Sydney where they're starting to use Lipiflow and in the process, it seems, are discovering a whole new world - what dry eye looks like for the severe and desperate cases:

On Tuesday this week we installed the first meibomian gland dysfunction treatment device called LipiFlow.  What was amazing was the first three patients that had booked in, had found us off the internet.  They all had been desperately seeking a solution to their constant discomfort.
Uh huh.

One patient was from New Zealand, one from Melbourne and one from Sydney.  This certainly surprised us - why would people travel so far to have an innovative procedure done, so early in the release of this new procedure?
Nothing surprising about it to you and me, for sure (sigh). 
Obviously because they perceived that their symptoms warranted more help.
To be suitable for the LipiFlow procedure involves a significant process....

Now we wait.  Most people that have been interviewed from overseas seems to suggest that significant improvement in symptoms occur after a week or two.  This is also a little confusing.  If the problem is immediately fixed and this can be seen immediately after the procedure is done. The meibomian glands definitely start to secrete more meibomian oil.  Then why does it take a few weeks to perceive less irritation?

We assume that the corneal surface as well as the eyelids are still inflamed and tender.  With the extra oil bathing the eyes, they are no longer being irritated hence will take time to settle down from their extra sensitive state.  Whether this is true is purely hypothetical at this stage....
As we start to see more and more people seeking LipiFlow treatment for their dry eyes we will keep you up to date on what are the obvious and not so obvious trends.  What is for sure is that this is a fascinating topic, especially now that we finally have a treatment for what has been a most frustrating problem for patient and practitioner alike.


otherstars said...

Sorry, this is not about this particular post, but I wanted to mention something. Just wondered whether you had heard of P.R.O.S.E. (Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem) lenses. I have ectasia and dry eye as a result of lasik. After thinking that I would have to have corneal transplants, I found out about P.R.O.S.E. lenses. In April (2012), I was fitted at Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) by Dr. Michelle Hessen. They have been amazing ... transforming. The lenses were developed at the Boston Eye Foundation ( Dr. Hessen (of Johns Hopkins) is successfully fitting MANY people who suffer with dry eyes. Presently, there are about six locations in the United States fitting these lenses. They are expensive, but my insurance company (because of having a diagnosis) paid for everything (~$14,000) except the copay. They are DEFINITELY worth checking out.

Rebecca said...

Hi there - yes actually I've been wearing PROSE lenses for six years. Agree what a great solution they are for a lot of situations. My situation is a combination of vision (LASIK complications) and dry eye. So glad to hear you're having a good experience with them.

otherstars said...

So glad you have found them too, Rebecca. I discovered them on the internet and was surprised to find out that my corneal specialist (from a large metropolitan eye center) had not heard of them and was very skeptical. I was looking into how I could afford to travel to one of the few PROSE centers when notice of Johns Hopkins starting one came through. What a blessing!

Kudos for all the wonderful information you are providing to so many. Dana


Has anyone used lipiflow for dry eye and have seen improvement?

I am a dry eye sufferer thinking about doing lipiflow treatment, its quite costly around $2000 but if it treats the cause it might be worth it!