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My Experience with Lipiflow

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  • My Experience with Lipiflow

    Okay so I noticed that several people have written on here about their experience with Lipiflow and I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

    I got the procedure done on Dec. 7, 2011 at the Pepose Vision Institute in St. Louis, MO. I was very lucky because this is only like 30 minutes from my house. The procedures total cost was $1690 and was split up into 3 different appointments. $190 for the initial testing, $1500 for the main the procedure, and no cost for the final checkup visit.

    1) The Lipiflow procedure only lasts about 15 minutes total
    2) Relatively painless
    3) Tests provide information on the 3 layers of tear film. (Mucous layer, Aqueous layer, Lipid layer)

    1) Too expensive
    2) If you have small eyes, like me, it can be a little uncomfortable
    3) If you have plugs in the procedure can loosen them or remove them completely
    4) Not enough studies have been done to show how well the procedure really works

    So, overall I would say I am a little disappointed with Lipiflow. I waited almost 2 months to write this review because I wanted to give it a chance. My aqueous layer and mucous layer tested normal before the procedure and I was happy to hear this. My lipid layer however was very low. They measure by a scale of 0 to 250. Anything above 115 is considered normal. My left eye was 37 and my right eye was 47 before the procedure. A month after the procedure they tested again and my left eye was 49 and my right eye was 61. (37/49 and 47/61) So there was a small improvement. I barely notice the change, maybe a very slight improvement. (Certainly not worth $1500)

    So basically I was a perfect candidate for Lipiflow and I only received a very small improvement from it. With that said, I would have this procedure done again. If the price comes down greatly, to maybe like $300 for the procedure I could easily see myself putting this money aside every year and getting this done, but no way for $1500.

  • #2
    Thanks very much for sharing Dave. I really appreciate this and I'm certain many others will as well.


    • #3
      Hey thanks. I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents because $1500 is a big investment for almost anybody. Hopefully the price will come down substantially in the next year or so and make it more affordable for people. I really don"t think they will be able to sell it for $1500 for very long. I hope not anyway, it's just not worth that much.


      • #4
        Hi Dave,

        Thanks for sharing! How did they get the information about your mucin layer? I had lipiview in December, with low lipid levels. I chose not to have lipiflow, for many of the con reasons you have stated. They never mentioned my mucin layer and when I asked about being aqueos deficient, they just said that was irrelevant, the lipid layer needed to be treated regardless of the condition of the aqueus layer.


        • #5
          is none of it covered by insurance?


          • #6
            Dave, thanks a lot for posting your experience. Really wishing you had seen better results. Have you gone back to your regular doctor to see if the glands look any better? If so, what did they say?

            Jenny, from what I understand, Lipiflow is not covered by insurance YET. But since it has FDA approval, insurance coverage might not be that far out (two years maybe?).

            The initial cost to get Lipiflow into the office is extremely high from what I have heard, so that is why they are charging an arm and a leg to have the procedure done right now.


            • #7
              Sammy is correct, insurance does not cover anything as of right now. I asked the lady who was doing my tests how much the device cost and she said more than her house! This is probably why the cost of the procedure is so expensive right now. Also Sammy, I have not gone back to my normal doctor yet. On my final visit for Lipiflow the doctor did look at my glands again and couldn't seem to tell if they were working better or not. Obviously, looking at my scores, that small of an improvement is probably hard to see from the naked eye.

              Hopeful2, they didn't go into a great amount of detail about the other layers, when I kept asking they said the testing device measures the osmolarity of the mucous and aqueous layers. So essentially they are looking at the concentration of solutes in your tears. For example, too much of a particular kind of protein can be bad for your tear film and lead to an increase in the inflammatory process which is obviously bad for your tears.


              • #8
                wondering what to do

                Hi Dave-Thanks for sharing,I just returned from Pepose and they said I was a good candidate,like you.I was kind of excited to try anything but wonder if it is truly worth it.I was quoted 195 for consult and 800 each eye.They told me it has an 86% success rate.I scheduled an appt. for next Mon.for consult.But after reading your post might rethink this.Its a lot of money unless the results are significant.I think Pepose is the only one in the area with the machine, isn"t he.Really wondering what to do.Any more words of advice for me. Thanks a lot maggiesmom in Stl


                • #9
                  Maggiesmom, he is definitely the only one in the area with the machine. So if you look at my scores above, since I did show a slight improvement my procedure might be considered a success as well. There is also the chance that you improve more than I did, I'm sure its a little different for everyone. Like I said before I would do Lipiflow again in the coming years if the price comes down. I read good and bad things about the procedure as I'm sure you have, but like most dry eye people I am desperate for any kind of relief and placing a monetary value on that is really hard to do. If you are willing to spend the money it might be worth a try, just be aware of the risks involved that I explained in my original post.


                  • #10
                    Dave,Thanks for reply.Not sure what to do-but like you said,dry eye makes us willing to try anything.Do hope you may get more improvement even this long after procedure-are you doing heat compresses?Did they recomend doing anything after the treatment? Thanks for sharing. maggiesmom


                    • #11
                      I actually do cold compresses. I have ocular rosacea and the heat just does not work for me. I was told by an ophthalmologist that cold compresses might make the oils in my eyelids flow less and that warm compresses are better, but I have tried warm compresses several times, for months actually, and there is no doubt that my eyes feel worse when I do them often. However, I do try to gently express my glands every morning when I am taking a warm shower.

                      I thought Lipiflow might work because it is only done once a year and I can handle a warm compress every now and then, just not every day. After Lipiflow I was basically told to follow my normal routine until I felt like I could taper down on something. Unfortunately this feeling never came and I am still doing my normal routine that I have been doing for the past few years.


                      • #12
                        Dave-Itoo have ocular rosacea and find that my eyes get red with lots of mucous when I try to do the warm compresses so I do the cold also.The only relief is Genteal gel-many,many times a day and cold,cold on the eye.I am really considering the lipiflow,hoping I may be one of the lucky ones it helps.I am worried tho about the heat making the eyes flare up really bad.Can you tell me how your eyes reacted after the lipiflow?Would you mind telling me how you express your eyes?Do you let the hot shower hit your face and then just massage the eyelids or what?Any info will really be appreciated.Thanks-maggiesmom


                        • #13
                          I have ocular rosacea too (and facial rosacea that reacts to everything). I've had two LipiFlow treatments. One in Toronto on July 9, 2011 (see this post LipiFlow Toronto ON July 9, 2011. The second was in Richmond BC on Nov 23, 2011.

                          Neither treatment caused any negative reaction to my eyes. Toronto made LipiFlow like a spa treatment - if I had a pedicure at the same time, it would have been perfect. In contrast, I did get a red face after my second treatment in Richmond. I think it was due to their lack of experience. There was more trouble fitting the eye pieces and keeping them in place during the 12-minute treatment.

                          You can see my LipiView scores here: fourth LipiView. When I go for my fifth LipiView in March/April, I will update the chart and post again.


                          • #14
                            My eyes felt pretty irritated the first day after the treatment, but after that they felt fine. My experience was similar to spmcc's 2nd treatment. They had some trouble fitting the eye pieces at first and then after the procedure was done I met with the doc for about 5 minutes then I was done. They gave me some Lotemax to use, which I didn't, even after I explained to them that I don't tolerate eye drops that have preservatives in them. Most docs I have come in contact with just don't understand that some people can not tolerate preservatives like BAK.

                            I do let the warm water from the shower hit my face and then I do the massage as described in Dr. Latkany's book. Sometimes I use Q-tips, but usually I just use my fingers and gently massage both lower and upper lids.

                            Thanks for posting your experiences spmcc.


                            • #15
                              Hi Dorothy,

                              Thank you for your frank post detailing your lipiflow experience. I am sorry it was not a pleasant experience and did not yield the 'promised result'. I think I would ask about a refund for the eye that needed to be retaped.

                              I am not sure why you would need to travel out of state to get 3% testosterone cream. You can ask your doctor, even your GP, to write you a script for 3% testosterone cream to be compounded in 20gm or a 'vanishing base'. I had checked into this with the optometrist who was conducting research on this. I would find a compounding pharmacy in Boston and get the script from your eye doc or GP. By the way, if you are menopausal, testosterone is readily prescribed to women for . . . um, low libido.