THE MILLION DOLLAR TREATMENT (part 2)
There is no treatment, right? There’s nothing we can do about that. Just old age.
It turns out there is! A few years ago, they developed a smart machine with a special actuator that warms 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 and parched glands.
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! But if the problem stays untreated for too long, and you don’t have 5-6 glands left, it is a useless exercise. Therefore, imaging takes place beforehand to assess the state of the glands and decide if the patient can be helped. At the ophthalmology conference, of which we spoke last time, I performed this test on myself. Not surprisingly, at 51 years of age, I found that many of my Meibomian glands have begun to close. I need to do something about that. If you have blepharitis and are cursed with styes, you have dry eyes and your tears are evaporating. You must take action.
What’s the takeaway for our readers?
This – We at BEI decided that we can’t live without this machine. Our reputation depends on it. Nevermind how expensive it is ($100,000), or that it costs us $500 per patient. We will still get it. If tests show that the patient’s Meibomian glands are closing, that operation must be done several weeks before any cataract surgery.
Just one operation fixes it forever? Or will the dryness return at some point?
You’ll get the procedure once a year, and in more extreme cases twice.
I assume this treatment is not covered by insurance?
It’s not. Nevertheless, there’s a waiting list for these machines. I didn’t think I could afford to support such an expensive thing, but a survey was conducted among patients after the conference, and many gave a positive review. In other words, the quality of their vision depended on the procedure. It was a difficult decision for us, but we made it.
Might I remind you that you promised to tell us something about the future of medicine.
I’ll tell you about one fascinating problem. There are so-called fortune-tellers who can predict what’s in store for us. Many are prone to the apocalyptic visions that we see in movies – everything is horrible, the oceans are rising, people are drowning, global warming leads to natural disasters, on top of world war, etc. I, however, am an optimist. I support progress and believe everything will get better. Let’s take disease. 30 years ago in medical school, we believed that hepatitis C was incurable. It’s a virulent pathogen transmitted many different ways. A doctor accidentally pricked by needle from an infected patient has a one-in-a-hundred chance of dying. This is in contrast to having been pricked by a needle from an HIV patient, where the chance is one in a million.
It turns out that hepatitis is much scarier than HIV, but everyone is afraid of HIV.
We gave vaccinations, but if you were unlucky the infection could still creep in. This virus is now inside you and you’ll either die from hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer, which is a fate both sad and very painful. But now…