A new treatment for blepharitis is proving to be a real boon for dry eye sufferers at The Eye Practice. BlephEx was developed a couple of years ago by a US ophthalmologist for the effective removal of biofilm from the margins of the eyelids.
How does BlephEx work?
Normal ocular flora (bacteria) can build up to form a thick layer that coats the delicate eyelid margins and causes inflammation (blepharitis). It is similar to how plaque and tartar build up on your teeth. The high levels of bacteria in this biofilm cause the inflammation and discomfort associated with blepharitis. The lid margins can also become crusted with scale and debris, which is very irritating and itchy. BlephEx is a surgical grade instrument that effectively removes the biofilm, resulting in instantly clean, happy eyelids.
The BlephEx device has a rapidly spinning sponge on the tip, which is soaked with an exfoliation solution. The combination of this solution and the mechanical exfoliation effectively removes the biofilm.
How does BlephEx help dry eyes?
The healthy tear film is made up of a thick layer of watery tears coated with a thin layer on oily tears on top – which prevents the watery tears from evaporating. If the oily layer isn’t working properly, the watery layer can evaporate quickly, leading to dry eyes. The oily tear layer is produced in the meibomian glands of the eyelid margins. These glands can become blocked for various reasons, including the presence of a thick layer of biofilm over the whole area. It is as if the openings to the glands have been tightly wrapped in cling film – nothing can get out. Removing the biofilm, often in conjunction with expressing any blockages from the oil glands (meibomian gland expression) is key to restoring the balance of the tear film.
Where can I have BlephEx treatment?
BlephEx is usually performed as a professional in-house treatment at specialist dry eye clinics. The Eye Practice performs BlephEx treatment on dry eye patients who show signs of inflammation of the eyelid margins. Contact lens wearers who suffer from dry eyes are also good candidates for this treatment. Treatment is comfortable and takes less than 10 minutes.
What else can I do?
For best results, treatment should be repeated annually and backed up by good lid hygiene at home. Regular lid scrubs with Blephadex wipes or foam will maintain the results of your treatment. This combination of tea-tree oil, coconut oil and a gentle lid cleanser is designed for daily use at home and is great news for blepharitis sufferers. It is far more effective than home-made solutions involving baby shampoo or bicarbonate.