In this video interview, we sit down with Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee and talk using LipiFlow to treat dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction.
According to Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee, president of Vision Optique, it’s important for doctors to take a proactive approach to treating dry-eye. “Instead of treating the patients when they present with the symptoms, it’s very important for us to actually discuss with them and educate them.” Accordingly, since December 2016 Vision Optique has been using LipiView imaging to screen all patients aged 18 and older for Meibomian Glad Dysfunction (MGD), which is one of the main causes of dry-eye.
“Ideally we catch them before it becomes a disease state.”
The doctors at Vision Optique began using LipiView imaging earlier in 2016 alongside the associated LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System, which treats MGD using the application of localized heat and pressure. They soon realized that the problem of dry-eye is bigger than they had thought, and decided to screen all patients 40 and above.
They found that the percentage of patients with MGD was “quite significant.” This is what led Vision Optique to include MGD screening as a standard part of the eye-exam process for all adult patients and subsequently using LipiFlow to treat dry eye. “We don’t know what we don’t know, right? … so we started looking.”
How is she able to screen every patient?
Dr. Shen Lee notes that she does not charge patients for MGD screening; the pre-optometry students that work for her organization have gotten quite good at operating the LipiView equipment, she says, and thus can perform the tests quickly and efficiently.
Patients receive the gland imaging data at the end of the exam, having already been educated about the significance of dry-eye and MGD during the screening itself. “It’s much more important for the patients to actually see it,” she says, “to visualize what their glands actually look like, especially patients who are symptomatic.”
If a patient has MGD, their doctor will switch them to daily disposable lenses if they’re not using these already, and upgrade them from older lens material to newer, premium material if necessary. Then they ask the patients to come in once again for a full dry-eye exam.
Dr. Shen Lee strongly recommends that doctors incorporate glands-imaging into their practices, especially if a significant portion of the patients they treat use contact lenses or are are candidates for refractive surgery.
Doctors who treat a significant amount of younger patients, especially millennials, can also benefit from glands-imaging as part of a proactive, prevention-focused approach to dry-eye disease, since younger populations are spending more and more time on digital devices and are thus at higher risk.
Dr. Shen Lee’s thoughts on these and other topics in optometry can be found under the #digitaleyedoc hashtag on twitter.