EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) — Most of us spend hours each day looking at screens. That can bother our eyes. But sometimes it’s more than just an irritation. Experts estimate some 30 million people have some form of dry eye, including symptoms like stinging and burning.
When Shaun Gould is behind the wheel, he looks for oncoming traffic. At home his eyes are focused on the computer. But he’s often distracted by how they feel.
“It’s so debilitating when you can’t use them to their full functionality. You don’t realize how much it impacts your life,” Gould said.
He has a form of what’s called dry eye, when your eyes don’t produce the right kind or right amount of tears.
“Like if you got dust in your eye and then you can’t get it out, that’s what dry eye feels like,” Gould said.
He uses eye drops several times a day and wears a warm eye mask to help with symptoms. But there’s another treatment he’s discovered that should slow the deterioration of the glands.
Dr. Brooke Messer sees patients with varying degrees of dry eye regularly.
“Dry eye is kind of a chronic thing. We have these oil glands in our eyes and when the glands become inflamed from dryness, the oil in the glands actually become somewhat solidified. Your average patient with dry eye symptoms, it’s usually related to their environment so the dry air in the buildings we work in and just our extra focus on our computers, so we’re not blinking enough and therefore we’re not producing enough tears,” Messer said.
Medical conditions and medications can cause it too. Messer said solutions range from lifestyle changes and drops all the way to surgery depending on the severity. She points to a newer and effective treatment called MiBoFlo.
“The MiBoFlo, we actually massage the eyelid with a heated wand to melt the oils and then the massage actually encourages the expression of those old stagnant oils out of the glands. It’s something that helps us heal faster versus using eye drops or topical medications,” Messer said.
Gould was encouraged to try the treatment in part because of the cost.
“It is relatively affordable which was very attractive because I tried some other things that were in the thousands of dollars,” Gould said.
And he said the relief he feels makes it worth it.
“Just warmth and massaging of the eyes is really soothing and calming. It also helps stop the degradation that would cause it to get worse which is like the most important thing,” Gould said.
Tear production slows down as we age. Women are at most risk of developing some form of dry eye as we experience more hormonal changes in life. Doctors are able to look at the quality of the glands. Click here to learn more about the treatment.