Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation MGD Treatment

Learn more about the Lipiflow (Thermal Pulsation) experience. Battling Dry Eye one treatment at a time!


Lipiflow Q & A


Nature and Purpose of Treatment

Dry eye is an extremely common condition. It is a major cause of eye discomfort and decreased vision. Dry eye can limit your activities and impact your quality of life.  While there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, there are a variety of treatment options that can help with the frustrating symptoms that accompany dry eyes. 

One of the most common causes of dry eye symptoms results from a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).  In a healthy eye lid, there are many small meibomian glands which secrete fatty oils to help create a stable and quality tear film. These oils help prevent the watery component of your tears from evaporating too quickly. If your meibomian glands are clogged, the important oily component cannot be released onto the surface of the eye, allowing the tears to evaporate or dry up, causing dry eye symptoms. This is called Evaporative Dry Eye. 

LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation Treatment is completed using an FDA approved medical device. Treatment is performed by a doctor inserting the Lipiflow applicators, which applies gentle heat for a constant 12-minutes as well as intermittent pulsing or massaging effect to the eyelids. This allows the oils from the blocked glands to liquify and to flow into the tear film. In conjunction with an eye examination, a doctor conducts testing to determine if the LipiFlow system is a good treatment option for you. 


LipiFlow Treatment Description

You will be seated during your LipiFlow treatment and a mild anesthetic drop will be placed into your eyes. Your doctor will gently position the LipiFlow device between your eyelids and the eye itself. You will be asked to keep your eyelids closed during the procedure. The system directs controlled warmth to the eyelid while protecting and insulating the eye.  During treatment, you will feel warmth and a mild to moderate pulsing sensation on your eyelids. The temperature of this warmth is slightly above body temperature.  The LipiFlow system also applies massage to the outer eyelid surface to further release oils from the blocked meibomian glands into the tear film. The treatment will take 12 minutes for both eyes. You will be monitored by a trained ophthalmic technician or the doctor during the entire course of your treatment. While most patients feel better after the treatment, some may experience minor irritation or redness from the procedure. Home care and post-treatment instructions will be explained by the doctor.  


Preparation before Treatment

You will be asked to remove your contact lenses and eye makeup prior to Lipiflow. Depending on your condition or other diagnosis such as Blepharitis, you may be advised to complete an in-office lid debridement or Micro-BlepharoExfoliation (MBE) procedure prior to treatment. Either BlephEx or ZEST works well when combined with Lipiflow in an effort to remove eyelid buildup, plaque, and crust, including epithelial gland caps of lid tissue accumulating along the edges of the eyelids. Your eyes will be numbed with a mild anesthetic drop and while seated at the slit lamp, your doctor will debride the eyelid of accumulated buildup with a medical instrument. Some patients may also benefit from manual expression, which is included with your LipiFlow treatment. 


MGD Patients & Lipiflow

  • Your Meibomian glands produce oils that help protect your tear film and eyes from becoming dry.
  • Over time, your meibomian gland function and/or structure can become compromised due to a condition known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
  • MGD can be asymptomatic, detectable only by evaluation of gland function or gland structure.
  • MGD is a leading cause of dry eye and can worsen over time is left untreated
  • LipiFlow is an FDA approved treatment for MGD.
  • The goal of treatment is to improve your meibomian gland function. We will know if the treatment worked if your gland function improves. Once the gland function has improved, we look for other positive findings such as improvement in your symptoms and overall ocular surface health.