New, wearable device could give dry eye relief

Dry Eye Relief
Dry Eye Relief

Burning, tearing, blurry vision. About 16 million people in the U.S. suffer from dry eye disease. If left untreated, dry eye can cause irreversible damage. But there are details on a new wearable device that is giving dry eye sufferers immediate relief.

Bill Casey always keeps his hands busy.

“I like to work around the house a little bit, always getting into something,” shared Casey.

But he couldn’t find relief for his dry eye disease and it could sometimes make his work environment uncomfortable.

“I’m an airline pilot so oftentimes the cockpit environment is a little drier. In the environment that we’re at, we want to have the best vision possible,” Casey explained.

“The most common cause of dry eye is a blockage in the oil glands in the lid,” said Dr. Melissa Bollinger, an ophthalmologist at Jacksoneye.

If left untreated, it can make your eyes more susceptible to infections and have poorer outcomes after eye surgeries.

“They’ll continue to go from mild stage to moderate stage to severe stage where they lose the glands completely. Then they become so symptomatic later that there are no treatments for them anymore,” said Dr. Mitchell Jackson, founder and CEO of Jacksoneye.

Now a new device is helping dry eye suffers find relief when eye drops don’t work. It’s called TearCare and it’s a wearable thermal device that goes over the eyelids.

“It heats up the oil glands to an optimized temperature and then we actually express the glands and they become unobstructed,” Jackson said.

The procedure takes about 15 minutes plus prep time and patients can feel the effects right away.

“Before the dry eye treatment, I was probably lubricating up to maybe ten times a day and after the treatment, maybe once or twice,” Casey said.

Allowing his vision to stay smooth and clear.

The effects of TearCare usually last for about a year, so patients will have to get repeat treatments. TearCare is not currently covered by insurance and one session costs about $700.