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.
Thanks very much for sharing Dave. I really appreciate this and I'm certain many others will as well.
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.
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.
is none of it covered by insurance?
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
is lipi flow advised if IPL was a flop?
Hello! I have suffered with MGD, with some aqueous deficiency, & have been been getting worse for over 7 years. Several years ago, I underwent 3 costly IPL treatments, at $900 for both eyes, by an MD in Beverly Hills, CA. I was advised a series would be in order but I quit afer #3, with zero change shown. I am intrigued by Lipi Flow & understand it is now being done at UCLA/Jules Stein in L.A. Wow, the cost is even higher than that of IPL, which seemed high enough, but I still desperateley seek help & wonder this: of course, if I am a worthy candidate, & does being a flop at IPL make me less so? The treatments do have similarities. Like many folks, I would gladly pay the cost if I could expect even moderate relief but, more importantly, with no dangers imposed. My question here: has anyone failed at IPL but given or would give lipi-flow a try, based on this?
I have not had Lipiflow but I plan to. I have had IPL (two treatments). I did experience a minor improvement a couple of months after the IPL treatments that has stayed with me, although according to my local docs, the glands are now very clogged. Doxycycline and diet have helped me the most. I am a vegetarian who eats a lot of whole grains, fruits and veggies and also someone who works out. I rarely eat sugar and never drink soda, etc.
I feel more positively about Lipiflow than I do about IPL because Lipiflow addresses both the upper and lower lids. When I had IPL, just the lower lid glands were emptied. If the lowers were any indication of what the uppers must look like, then YIKES - no wonder my eyes aren't normal.
But the only downside to this treatment is that it might say that it addresses the "root cause of MGD," but I don't believe it does. Meaning, why do our glands clog up in the first place? To try to answer that I am going to try an anti-inflammatory diet to see if things ease up (avoiding nightshades mainly). There is SOMETHING going on inside of us MGD sufferers that brings about MGD in the first place. THAT is the root cause.
So since Lipiflow is coming to my town, I'm going in. I'll post about my experience. I have high hopes.
hesitations about Lipi Flow
Thanks for responding! My main issues with Lipi Flow are that 1) IPL did not work a bit & 2) after over 7 years of this misery, I'm not really even sure what my diagnosis is. I now this seems hard to believe. Basically, based on what my eye doctor says, yes, I suffer from significant MGD, which he has said all along. But...when he sent me for an assessment for intraductal probing two years ago, the doctor stunned me by saying my lids didn't look that bad &, in fact, that I was aqeuous deficient. Well, I could have told him that I had become dryer than I was in the beginning. I had 4 plugs back in '05 & was too wet (but the eyes burned miserably). The plugs got infected & out they came. Now, with one punctum cauterized & the other 3 supposedly with buried plugs, I am as dry as a bone. So, it may be true...that I have some of both diagnoses so, based on that, what good will Lipi Flow do if the watery component is sufficiently lacking? It would be like addressing one problem while the other one stands in the way from a good outcome. Oh, & I have tested negative for Sjogren's. Thus, I'm leery of Lipi Flow which, admittedly, I would try anyway if my insurance would cover it. As it is, I suffer greatly. The burning is horrendous. It scares me to wonder how much worse I could get. You are far better than I am about diet...I am impressed. If there is a viable solution out there for me, including in terms of what I eat/don't eat, I would try it...but, at this point, I don't think anything can really help. Best of luck...do check in.
HI, i had IPL and it didnt help, i have ocular rosacea and/or allergies (probably the former)... if you have either of these you probably have alot of inflammation. The reason IPL didnt work is because the inflammation is still there so the glands are not going to produce oil, even when there is extreme expression.
Put it this way, Dr T told me on first visit that 90% of my glands were open---- why do i have severe dry eye then?? Because despite my glands being open- my eyelids are severely inflammed and oil is not being produced due to this. So Neither IPL or LIPIFLOW is going to treat the inflammation causing the lack of Mebium oil to flow to the eye (and bad quality oil). For people with less inflammation- where theres alot more clogging- this works because it removes the obstructions (clogging).
Theres an article somewhere explaining the difference between the two types of MGD that people can have. blocked glands and non blocked glands.
I need a strong anti inflammatory that can get rid of the inflammation.
I want a cure
I've just completed a series of 6 IPl treatments and, fingers crossed, it's really helped me.I'll need to continue with restasis, lovaza and maintenence treatments, but so far, so good. The latest thing around the Philly area now seems to be a combination of lipiflow and IPL.
Sazy, I do hope you can find something that will give you relief.
What is the difference between IPL and Lipiflow?
Well I can say as someone that was a study for lipiflow its been years of study as my first treatment was years ago so to claim there is not enough study is discouraging. I will add that the tests showed improvement so you did infact improve? I had much greater results and have not done a warm compress in 6-7 months after becoming lazy and not had an issue. The fact that someone has put so much time and energy to improving the people with dry eyes is awesome. I guess maybe 1500 is alot yeah but I would pay 2 times that for improvement. I think we all would.
That's what I have been told. Insurance companies and Medicare apparently still consider it experimental. I am really annoyed with my eye doctor. His clinic just got the machine, and that's all he offered me. I'm going elsewhere.