Dry eye disease makes millions of people miserable. It is caused by a variety of things. Standard treatment usually means medications, daily eye drops and ointments. Now there is a new eye-opening option for sufferers, and it only takes few minutes.
"I felt like I had a piece of glass in my eye," said Diana Galson-Kooy, who has suffered with dry eye disease for years.
Dry eye disease is caused by things like prolonged contact lens wear, birth control pills and antihistamines. Evaporative dry eye affects the glands that make tears.
Dr. Ernest Kornmehl said the majority of his patients come in for dry eye treatments. For many patients, he is now recommending LipiFlow.
"It takes 12 minutes and patients go to work immediately after the procedure," said Kornmehl.
Cups surround the eyelids. They heat up and pulsate to melt blockages in her tear glands.
"It doesn't hurt. It just is strange," said Galson-Kooy.
In a Food and Drug Administration trial, 79 percent of LipiFlow patients showed improvement. Doctors said those improvements can last nine to 15 months. Most patients find themselves not taking the drops or ointments as they were before.
LipiFlow is FDA-approved, but it is not covered by insurance. The cost per eye can range between $700 and $1,100.