Editorially Independent Content
Dry eye disease is a multifactorial disease, therefore, the key to treatment is understanding that you must employ multiple tactics. At my practice I provide comprehensive care and frequently treat patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). To treat MGD, we use a combination of Omega-3 fatty acids, various pharmacologic agents such as doxycycline or AzaSite (azithromycin ophthalmic solution, Akorn), and heat therapy. Heat is the mainstay of my treatment regimen because it is essential to melt the oils.
I use an in-office heating treatment called MiBoFlo Thermoflo (MIBO Medical Group), which is a phenomenal technology that melts the meibum at a precise temperature. However, to be completely successful, it is important that the patient continues heat therapy at home. I have suggested beads, rice, socks, hard-boiled eggs, and tea bags for at-home therapy with limited success, but then I found the EyeGiene Insta-Warmth System (Eyedetec).
How it Works
The EyeGiene Insta-Warmth System is an at-home heat therapy device. It is one of the only at-home heat therapy devices with FDA clearance. Single-use inserts, which automatically heat to 109.4 degrees within a few minutes, are placed in a fabric mask that is worn over the lids for 10-12 minutes. One benefit of EyeGiene is that it doesn't require microwaving or the hassle associated with other masks. Heat therapy should be performed daily to keep the oils flowing properly. The convenience of EyeGiene is central to providing patients with an at-home treatment plan that they can do on a consistent basis. I encourage patients to use it twice per day when possible, particularly dry eye patients who look at a computer screen all day.
After a treatment is prescribed, it is important to maintain contact with patients to encourage them to adhere the treatment regimen and determine when additional measures are necessary. We utilize an eye care focused telemedicine application called CoolDoctors for periodic follow-up care between office visits. Through this cloud-based software, the patient can describe their symptoms, confirm that the treatment regimen is being followed, send images, or live video chat. Telemedicine is a helpful strategy to monitor complex conditions like dry eye disease.
Putting EyeGiene to Good Use
As I mentioned, we have tried a lot of different at-home therapy products and EyeGiene is the only product that patients have actually used often. The inserts are single-use so refill packages must be purchased periodically, however it is apparent that the benefit outweighs the cost for my patients because I am constantly getting requests for refill orders. To me, the fact that patients are willing to pay for a product on a recurring basis is the strongest recommendation that the product works. From a financial standpoint, it is not a huge moneymaker for my office but it is sold for a modest profit that pays for itself and is not a detriment to practice workflow.
EyeGiene is a wonderful therapeutic addition to dry eye treatment that allows patients to manage their meibomian gland dysfunction.
Disclosure: Dr. Fishman states that he has a financial interest in CoolDoctors.