5M Americans Suffer From Chronic Dry Eye: Light Therapy is Here to Help

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We all know the importance of our eyes, and when they’re working optimally, we don’t even think about them. But when something’s off, it can create huge discomfort in a person’s daily life. 

Dry eye disease, also known as chronic dry eye, is a very common condition, with around 5 million Americans suffering from it. Dry eyes occur when the eyes don’t produce enough tears to stay wet. As a result, the eyes become dry and feel highly uncomfortable while also creating vision problems such as blurry vision, red eyes, and sensitivity to light.

Interestingly, most people with chronic dry eye are middle-aged or older and it tends to affect women more than men. The reason being is due to women’s hormonal fluctuations in the body. 

Now the typical treatment for dry eyes depends on the symptoms a person wants to ease. However, usually, sufferers of chronic dry eyes are given five options:

  • Over-the-counter eye drops. Treats mild dry eyes with artificial tears to moisturize the eye area.
  • Prescription medication. Doctors may prescribe medicine such as cyclosporine or lifitegrast to help the eye produce tears for serious conditions.
  • Lifestyle changes. There may be environmental factors worsening the condition such as smoke, wind, air conditioning, humidity.
  • Tear duct plug. If the tears are draining too quickly, doctors may suggest a procedure in which a “duct” is inserted into the tear ducts. They help hold the tears in the eyes.
  • Surgery. For extreme cases, doctors may suggest surgery to fix the eyelids and help the tears stay in the eyes. This is a rare option of treatment.

While these treatments do help relieve chronic dry eyes, prescription-based methods or invasive procedures have really been the only options available. 

However, ophthalmologists are now treating this condition with alternative intense pulsed light therapy for dry eye.  Baltimore eye doctor Dr. Brett Levinson of Specialized Eye Care is treating Marylanders who have been diagnosed with chronic dry eye with the power of light

But how does light therapy really work on dry eyes? And is light therapy safe for the eyes? Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy addresses the imbalance within the tear film and tears production, which is the cause of dry eye syndrome. 

The meibomian glands are oil glands that exist at the edges of the upper and lower eyelids. They secrete oil (meibum) that’s layered onto the eyes to prevent the tears from evaporating. However, when the meibomian glands become blocked, they prevent the oil from coating the eyes. 

Intense pulsed light therapy sends gentle pulses of light into the skin around the eyes, which reduces inflammation and the risk for bacterial infection. The pulses melt away the blocked oil, unclogging the meibomian glands and allowing the natural flow of oil to coat the eyes. 

Through consistent treatments, light therapy not only improves but helps maintain healthy meibomian gland function, preventing dry eyes from recurring.

Through light therapy, Levinson is focusing on tackling the root problem of chronic dry eye rather than simply alleviating the symptoms. Dr. Levinson states that chronic dry eye is due to “the oil glands of the eyelids get blocked. We use this technique [light therapy] to heat up the oil glands and squeeze them out.” 

Red light therapy and your eyes: the two best friends you’d least expect. 

Luckily, Kaiyan medical’s team has a deep understanding of the positive value of red light therapy, especially with common conditions like chronic dry eye. 

Whether you’re looking for at-home light therapy devices or professional light therapy devices for clinical use, Kaiyan manufacturers MDA-certified and FDA-approved devices for a range of conditions, including eye care. If you’re interested in producing your own private label, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’ll be happy to explore your options and see what’s best for you and your practice.