Dr. Christopher Tortora, M.D., Hawaiian Eye Center
Dr. Christopher Tortora, M.D., Hawaiian Eye Center

The Hawaiian Eye Center, a full service eye care center in Wahiawa, announced the arrival of a new treatment for those suffering from a form of dry eyes known as evaporative dry eye disease. This disease affects millions of Americans and often goes undiagnosed. Hawaiian Eye is the first in the state to introduce a new, advanced in-office diagnostic and treatment system known as LipiFlow (Video Demo).

“Dry eye disease doesn’t get a lot of attention, even though it’s a serious condition that hinders the daily lives of millions of people,” said Christopher Tortora, M.D., medical director of the Hawaiian Eye Center. “Evaporative dry eye disease causes discomfort, pain, and difficulty with daily activities. In some cases, it can also lead to ulcers, scarring of the cornea, and even vision loss.”

Dry eye disease is one of the most common reasons people visit their eye care professional. Symptoms include itchiness, burning, dryness, soreness, irritation, redness, grittiness and eye fatigue. Other frequent symptoms include blurring, burning, and tearing when using the computer or when air is blowing on the eyes. Dry eye disease affects an estimated 23 million people in the U.S., with over half of that number afflicted with evaporative dry eye disease.

Evaporative dry eye disease occurs as a result of meibomian gland dysfunction—a blockage of the meibomian glands in the eyelid that are responsible for the secretion of the oily lipid layer of the tears. Without the oily lipids, the water layer of the eye’s tear is prone to rapid evaporation, resulting in chronic dryness.

In the past, treatments for evaporative dry eye disease relied on warm compresses, eye drops and prescription drugs with mixed results. The LipiFlow treatment works by focusing on the root of the problem—blocked meibomian oil glands.

The first step in the new treatment is diagnosis with the use of LipiView, which allows doctors to capture digital images of the tear film of the eye. The examination is non-invasive and only takes a few minutes.

Once diagnosed, the LipiFlow treatment consists of an eyepiece placed over the eyelid that administers a combination of localized heat therapy and pressure to the lids. The eyepiece provides controlled warmth to the inner eyelid with intermittent massaging of the outer eyelid. This stimulation helps to unblock the oil glands, allowing the secretion of lipids to resume.

In controlled clinical studies, 79 percent of patients treated with LipiFlow reported improvement in dry eye symptoms a month after the procedure. The quality and quantity of lipid secretion also improved by two to three times over the baseline condition.

“The results after the LipiFlow treatment are quite remarkable,” said Dr. Tortora. “We’re excited to be able to be the first to offer this procedure to people in Hawaii who suffer from this disease and help improve their daily quality of life.”

Dr. Tortora, a board certified ophthalmologist, is host of “The Hawaiian Eye Show,” a weekly informational radio program about healthy vision. He and his colleagues at the Hawaiian Eye Center are committed to educating the public about the importance of preventative eye care. To learn more about a variety of eye health issues, please call the Hawaiian Eye Center at 621-8488 or visit www.HawaiianEye.com andwww.Facebook.com/HawaiianEyeCenter, where “life has never looked better.”

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