Wanaka Optometrist Acquires Innovative Technology To Combat Dry Eyes
Published: QT Magazine | Upper Clutha Messenger
Leading Wanaka optometry practice OCULA has acquired cutting-edge technology in the form of a specialised Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) machine to significantly improve the health of dry eyes.
The first of its kind in the lower South Island, the $47,000 machine is recognised around the world as an unprecedented step in the treatment and prevention of dry eye disease and meibomian gland dysfunction. OCULA director and principal optometrist Danielle Ross describes the treatment as a breakthrough in a field which has had very little advancement thus far.
“It is so exciting because this treatment is aimed at addressing the underlying problem that causes dry eyes, as opposed to eye drops that just provide temporary relief of symptoms,” she says. “Patients are noticing significant improvements in their symptoms, with relief that lasts much longer than conventional treatments.
Originally designed for use in dermatology, clinical trials indicate that patients treated with IPL therapy experience an 86% improvement in the symptoms of chronic dry eyes, such as eye soreness, grittiness and blurring. The machine works by transmitting gentle yet powerful bursts of light into the eye’s blood vessels, generating heat and improving the oily layer volume, as well as rejuvenating the eye tissue. It also counteracts problematic bacteria on the skin and eyes, which can cause eye discomfort.
The 15-minute treatment is painless with minimal side effects and patients typically enjoy immediate results which last up to 24 months. Ross says the arrival of the machine is impeccably timed as dry eyes – a condition presenting in many Southern Lakes and Central Otago residents – are often at their peak in winter and spring.
“Winter is a killer for dry eyes as artificial heating combined with very low humidity can worsen symptoms,” she says. “Treating dry eyes effectively before spring can also improve a patient’s allergies, as allergies and dry eyes are intrinsically linked in a vicious cycle of one exacerbating the other.
“We recommend patients see us for a Dry Eye Examination; in this we take a comprehensive look at a person’s dry eye profile, including symptoms, triggers, medical and lifestyle factors. Many people appreciate this approach as they get the correct initial diagnosis and the tailored treatment plan ensures the best results.”
A Dry Eye Examination consultation costs $94, including advice on environmental, dietary and medical modifications as well as a customised treatment plan, which may include IPL, depending on the diagnosis. The introductory IPL package comprises three sessions of IPL therapy over 45 days at a cost of $589. For more information, visit our Dry Eye page.