Americans spend $4 billion every year to treat dry eyes. Most medicines are over the counter and only offer temporary relief. Now there's a longer lasting treatment.
Thanks to Lasik surgery, Brenda Scrivener sight is excellent. But her vision isn't the problem.
"He said you have really dry eyes. He tried putting plugs in and that didn't really work," Scrivener said.
Now scratchy, itchy dry eyes could be a thing of the past for patients who can afford a new treatment.
"These patients have been suffering from dry eye for years. They're buying multiple bottles of artificial tears. They've tried prescription drugs. They're one of our most frequent patients to come back to the clinic over and over again," said Matt Smith, with Mattax Neu Prater.
The new treatment is called LipiFlow. It's a computer based treatment. Little activators are put on top of eye lids. The activators heat and massage the eye to unplug oil glands so they work properly.
The $1,500 treatment takes 12 minutes. Insurance doesn't cover it.
"No it isn't cheap. I took time to think about it. Talk about it with my husband. Decided it was worth the investment. It's my eyes," Scrivener said.
The treatment lasts anywhere from six months to 2 years.
There are two types of dry eye. The patient either doesn't produce enough tears or the oil glands don't function right. This treatment improves the function of the oil glands.
Mattax Neu Prater has done the procedure on about a half a dozen patients. None have had serious side effects.