As of late September 2020, more than 2.2 million acres of California land have been ravaged by wildfires. The smoke from the fires has spread across the country, aggravating the sensitive eyes of countless people.
No one is more susceptible to the effects of the wildfire smoke than individuals with pre-existing health problems, including dry eyes. At Laser Eye Center, we have personally met patients who are struggling with dry eye symptoms exacerbated by wildfire smoke and resulting pollution. In this post, we want to introduce you to one such patient.
The Face of Dry Eye Disease
The Laser Eye Center team recently met a woman who drove down to our Los Angeles-area practice from San Francisco (an 8+ hour drive!) during the California fires seeking relief from her dry eye symptoms. As a truck driver, she relies on her eyes to guide her through every kind of road and weather condition. Her condition was starting to affect her confidence in performing her job well; her dry eyes were causing her to feel excessively tired and affecting the quality of her vision, especially at night. She was also frustrated and anxious on the road when she would notice that her lubrication drops were almost gone and would not last the entire trip.
Unfortunately, the patient was suffering from severe dry eye; in fact, an eye evaluation showed that her right eyelid’s meibomian glands — the glands that produce the oily outer layer of her tear film — had completely atrophied. Without the oily layer of tear film, her tears were evaporating too rapidly off the surface of her eyes, and her eyes were drying out. The smoke from the wildfires was further aggravating her eyes. By the end of the day, our patient could hardly keep her eyes open because of the discomfort of her dry eyes. Her life and livelihood were at great risk due to dry eyes.
Our patient found us thanks to our extensive dry eye patient education program. Our work started with a mission to offer a true and lasting solution focused on addressing the underlying causes for dry eye. We performed an extensive technology review and finally decided to invest in in a leading-edge dry eye technology name iLux. iLux is an electronic device approved by the FDA for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction. As opposed to simply masking dry eye symptoms, the iLux applicator applies therapeutic heat and gentle pressure to melt and express thickened oil deposits in the meibomian glands. Once clear, the glands can resume their normal secretion of oils to help tears “stick” to the surface of the eyes.
As pioneers in dry eye treatment, we were able to partner with our patient to help her find much-needed relief leveraging our iLux platform. She is now committed to her treatment, which consists of a semi-annual regiment. Within two weeks of the treatment date, her tear-film-breakup-time improved by 50 percent and peaked at an 86 percent improvement at the four-week mark.
Similar to how we visit the dentist every six months for a deep cleaning and follow up with daily maintenance, the patient is now successfully working to maintain a “healthier” functioning eye. The patient explains that while she once felt like it was a losing battle, she now feels empowered again over her health and finds the quality of her life improved.
What Do Patients Say About iLux?
“Simple and straightforward, with true, noticeable & lasting relief” is a common endorsement from our patients about iLux. Treatment is quick, painless and works rapidly. Our patients can attain freedom from their symptoms and focus their energy on work and hobbies after a single treatment session. Regular maintenance sessions continue to keep symptoms at bay.
iLux has revolutionized the way we treat dry eye disease. We are thrilled with the way it has changed our practice and helped hundreds of patients overcome the discomfort of dry eye.
Our truck driver patient’s story is important to us, but not unique. Over 30 million people suffer from burning, itching or uncomfortable eyes due to dry eye disease, and this situation is exacerbated in California in the face of ongoing fires. If you are suffering from dry eye syndrome, Laser Eye Center can help. Contact us today to request a consultation to discuss your symptoms and iLux as a potential solution. You can reach us by calling or sending us an email.