Dryness of the Eyes, and New Treatment (1)
Dryness seems like a boring topic at first glance. This is our second conversation with Arthur Benjamin, who recently returned from the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference full of new ideas. This, however, follows an unpredictable storyline, where only as we reach the end can we return to the beginning.
Are we going to talk about what the future holds?
Let´s talk about a fairytale, soon to come true at BEI. Dryness of the eyes doesn´t sound like a big deal, but it´s actually a real problem. It affects both young and old; no one is safe. It also affects both sight and general comfort. There´s the sensation that something is in the eye, it reddens or itches, and the person constantly rubs it. This may cause deformation in the cornea or keratoconus. In short, dry eyes are bad. Furthermore, it can affect the outcome of laser correction or cataract surgery. This, of course, is of great concern to me. It reaches a point where the surface of the cornea can affect the achievement of certain results.
Why is that?
It´s because when the cornea is dry, the surface is rough. It´s unpleasant for the patient, and it can damage the efficacy of the procedure. How might you bring that surface back to its normal state? You can apply drops, or we advise a warm compress.
Within the eyelid, there are meibomian glands that secrete an oily substance. It lubricates the surface of the eyeball and prevents the watery component of tears from evaporating. A fatty layer and water create the tear film, and one type of dry eye leads to a lack of tears. For various reasons, this oily layer can become too thick and the glands clog. Some begin to fall off; others close.
But there´s nothing we can do about that, right? Just old age.
It turns out there is! A few years ago, they developed a smart machine with a special actuator that warms in the inside and outside of the eyelids with a stream of hot air. It only heats the eyelid and not the eye itself. This stream ¨melts¨ scars, parched glands, and draws out the clogs.
So this conquers age-related dryness? Is it a long process? And what happens next?
The process takes 12-15 minutes. What happens is that the glands are opened!
(to be continued)