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Punctal Plugs

If you suffer from dry, burning, irritated or itchy eyes, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears that can’t keep your eyes adequately hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of your tears, found inside your eyelid don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out.

If your tear ducts are blocked, your eye doctor may suggest punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts — the puncta — of the eyelids. Another type of plug is inserted into the tear duct, the canaliculus, at a deeper level.

Puncta are small openings in your eyes that drain tears. The plug, which is about the size of a grain of rice, prevents fluid from flowing from the eyes. This ensures that the maximum amount of tears remain on the eyes at all times, resulting in less itching, burning, and redness.

Two Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a material, such as collagen, that the body absorbs over time. These plugs can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the eye. After refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to keep the eye moist. They can also be used to test out punctal plugs to see if they provide dry eye relief.

Semi-permanent plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are composed of medical plastic, such as silicone or acrylic, that lasts longer. These plugs are made to stay in the eye for years. Your eye doctor can remove them, if necessary.

Another sort of semi-permanent punctal plug is inserted in the canaliculus, which is a deeper section of the tear duct. Once in the eye, these plugs are completely invisible.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Your eye doctor will first inspect your eye to determine the optimum type and size of plug for your eyes.

Anesthesia may be used to numb your tear ducts. However, in some cases, you may not need to have your eyes numbed. As the punctal plug is inserted into your eyelid, you may feel some pressure.

After the plugs are inserted, you should be able to resume your normal activities at once.

When and How are Punctal Plugs Removed?

How to remove the plugs and when will depend on which plugs are inserted.

To remove silicon plugs from the tear ducts, your eye doctor will use forceps to gently pull the plugs out. Another option for removing these plugs is to use a saltwater solution to flush them out. The plugs are forced out of the tear ducts and into the nose or throat during this procedure.

Surgery is usually required to remove plugs that are deeper in the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

For most people, punctal plugs don’t cause any problems. However, if you have any eye pain, itchiness, or fear you have an infection, contact your eye doctor right away. The eye doctor will examine your eyes and remove the plugs if necessary.

Are Punctal Plugs for You?

Consult your eye doctor if artificial tears or other eye drops have failed to relieve your dry eye symptoms. If blocked tear glands are the culprit, your doctor might advise you to try punctal plugs. For more information regarding punctal plugs contact Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers today!

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.
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What is MiBo Thermoflo?

Nearly millions of people around the globe are suffering from chronic dry eye syndrome—and the number is only growing.

One of the most common complaints we get from patients is dry eye syndrome. It occurs when eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition. If you’re suffering from red, irritated, and scratchy eyes, MiBo Thermoflo can offer you the relief you seek.

What is Mibo Thermoflo?

The MiBo Thermoflo is a therapeutic device that delivers consistent and comfortable heat to the meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands produce the vital oil for the tears, and the heat helps to unblock the glands to allow the easy flow of oils from the eyelid into the tears. The oils in the tears help improve the tear film and to preserve tears by limiting tear evaporation.

What to Expect During MiBo Thermoflo Treatment

To help manage dry eye symptoms, MiBo therapy uses thermoelectric radiation. The MiBo eye pads emit a therapeutic temperature of 108 degrees, which helps to liquefy the oils in your tears and also unblocks the oil-producing glands in the eyelids, enhancing the function of the meibomian glands.

If you wear contact lenses and makeup, you will be asked to remove them before starting the treatment to ensure proper heat absorption. An ultrasound gel will be applied to the MiBo eye pads, which will be placed on your eyelids. While your eyes are closed, you may feel a slight pressure as your eyelids are massaged with the eye pads. The session usually lasts for about 8 minutes per eye.

Once the MiBo procedure is completed, your eye doctor will inspect your glands. To ensure that your glands are clear and secreting clear lipids, they may need to express the meibomian glands.

MiBo Thermoflo Is A Safe Alternative to Other Treatments

Studies have found MiBo Thermoflo to be effective in treating meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and other ocular surface problems. It is less invasive than other treatments for dry eye problems and is low risk for corneal distortions, a common complication with other eyelid therapies.

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome or other ocular surface diseases, MiBo Thermoflo may be an effective treatment option. Contact Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers to learn more and to schedule to your appointment.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.
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Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Approximately 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye—other than the obvious eye dryness—include grittiness, burning, irritation and difficulty reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time. Studies have shown that certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated.

Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film.

Omega Fatty Acids For Dry Eye

Omega fatty acids are responsible for forming the stabilizing oil layer in the tear film. If this outer layer of the lubricating film is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye symptoms like burning, redness and itchiness. In addition, omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods high in omega fatty acids include:

  • Fish. cod, mackerel, salmon, trout
  • Meat. red meat, pork liver
  • Oils. canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil,
  • Other animal products. cheese, eggs

Vitamins for Dry Eye

Below is a list of vitamins that help with dry eye and boosts general eye health.

  • Vitamin A (retinol) helps protect the surface of the eye. Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.
  • Vitamin B2 protects your eyes from cell damage. It is found in broccoli, avocados, dairy products and whole-grain products.
  • Vitamin B6 is needed for a healthy tear film. Foods such as kale, potatoes, goose, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain high doses of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12 is also important for lubricating the eyes. It’s typically found in mackerel, beef liver, calf’s liver and pork liver. It is also found in dairy products and eggs, though in smaller amounts.
  • Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and plays an important role in maintaining a functioning tear film. It can be found in peppers, broccoli, rosehip, acerola berries and brussels sprouts.
  • Vitamin E is necessary to protect your eyes against cell damage as well as dry eye. This vitamin is prominently found in sunflower oil, mackerel, wheat germ oil, peppers, spinach, mangos and redcurrants.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help cells function correctly and stay healthy. They help prevent many chronic eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome. Foods rich in these antioxidants include leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. They are also available as supplements.

Zinc for Eye Health

Zinc plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. This mineral is responsible for getting vitamin A from your liver to your retina and produces melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes. Dairy, whole grains, nuts, sweetcorn, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of zinc.

Drink Water to Hydrate Your Eyes

Lastly, drink water. While it may seem obvious, many of us forget to drink enough water. Staying hydrated can help improve eye comfort and is vital for your kidneys, bowels and radiant-looking skin.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps to ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. So go ahead and protect your vision, improve eye health and relieve your dry eye symptoms by adding these nutrients to your diet. However, remember to always consult your eye doctor before taking any supplements.

Contact Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers to learn more and to explore our effective and lasting treatments to relieve your dry eyes so you can live your best life.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.
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Autologous Serum Eye Drops for Severe Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic lack of moisture in the eye caused by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. It can lead to irritation and, left untreated, can damage your corneas. While artificial tears and lubricating drops help the majority of patients, others continue to search for relief, especially if their dry eye syndrome is severe. Autologous serum eye drops (ASED) are a possible treatment for intransigent cases of dry eye.

What are Autologous Serum Eye Drops?

Autologous means that the donor and the recipient are the same person. In this case, Autologous Serum Eye Drops (ASED) are made from a patient’s own blood. These drops are found to be highly effective and well-tolerated. They consist of ingredients that artificial tears can’t replicate. They promote healthy growth and healing of the ocular surface ( the cornea) and contain antibodies, albumin, Vitamin A, and special growth factors important for healthy eyes known as epidermal growth factors.

ASEDs are not tear substitutes and are often used alongside other dry eye treatments such as artificial tears, lubricating eye drops and in-office treatments provided by some optometrists for dry eye.

How are Autologous Serum Eye Drops Made?

Autologous serum eye drops are created by drawing a very small amount of your blood into a sterile tube and allowing the blood to clot for at least 10 hours.

The blood is then spun for 15 minutes so the serum is separated. The blood serum is collected, combined with sterile saline and divided into several small dropper bottles. The serum to saline ratio varies according to your doctor’s assessment of the severity of your dry eye. The serum is not red; it is clear, like other eye drops.

This process takes up to three hours. You usually receive several months’ supply of drops, depending on your dosing frequency.

The prepared eye drops are placed in the freezer to maintain optimal freshness and remove the risk of harmful microorganisms growing for up to 6 months.

The serum drops create a lubricating fluid rich in certain nutrients and growth factors that may be missing in very dry eyes.

What Do Autologous Serum Eye Drops Cost?

ASED are not FDA approved because they are a blood product and not a pharmaceutical; most health insurance policies do not cover the treatment. Medications that have attained FDA approval receive government and health insurance funding to lower their cost to patients. For this reason, ASED are priced higher than traditional eye drops, but are considered life-changing for many patients.

How Long Does it Take to Notice Improvement?

Most patients experience a noticeable reduction of their dry eye symptoms within 2 weeks of starting ASED therapy.

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, and have been frustrated trying to find relief for dry eye, we recommend you consider ASED. Contact Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers to learn more about ASED and how they can change the way you see.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Why You Should See Your Eye Doctor

Effectively managing a health condition like dry eye syndrome (DES) requires a thorough diagnostic and treatment process. So why do so many people find themselves pacing up and down the eye drop aisle at their local drug store, searching for yet another eye drop to ease their symptoms?

Knowing exactly what’s causing your symptoms and how to treat the condition at its source is the only way to attain long-lasting relief. At Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers, we do more than just treat the symptoms — we determine the underlying cause of your DES and get to the root of the issue.

Do You Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES is a progressive eye condition that affects over 20 million North Americans annually. It is caused by either poor tear quality or insufficient tears.

The most common cause of poor tear quality is a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a blockage of the meibomian glands — the tiny glands at the edge of the eyelids that secrete an oily film into your tears.

Some medical conditions that can cause decreased tear production include Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid conditions, and lupus. Aging and a vitamin A deficiency can also lower tear production.

Symptoms of DES range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating, and can include:

  • Red eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Painful or irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itchy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

DES can make it difficult for the eye to flush out foreign bodies, so sand, grit and allergens sometimes get stuck in the eye.

Why Do People Use Over-the-Counter (OTC) Eye Drops?

beautiful eyesGiven how uncomfortable dry eye symptoms can be, it’s no surprise that dry eye sufferers seek relief using over-the-counter drops. People with DES may not realize that they should visit their eye doctor rather than seek solutions on their own.

Some eye doctors recommend using OTC eye drops to temporarily treat mild symptoms until the condition naturally heals. For example, after an eye injury or surgery, many find that lubricating eye drops soothe the eyes and provide moisture.

But not all eye drops are created equal. People with mild to moderate cases of DES who seek relief from OTC solutions may be choosing the wrong types of drops or dosage for their eyes.

The three main categories of non-prescription eye drops are:

  • Lubricating eye drops/artificial tears
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Redness-reducing eye drops

Masking a mild case of DES by using redness-reducing eye drops (also called decongestant eye drops) won’t address the underlying source of the redness. In fact, decongestant eye drops have been shown to exacerbate DES symptoms in the long run.

What’s more, your eyes can eventually become [desensitized] to the effects of OTC eye drops after repeated use. This eventually leads people back to the drugstore in search of even stronger eye drops, perpetuating the never-ending “eye drop cycle.”

End the Vicious Eye Drop Cycle

Experiencing continual eye irritation indicates the need for professional eye care. An optometrist will isolate the cause of your DES and use their expertise to find the most effective treatment for lasting relief.

Even if you have a mild case of dry eye syndrome, now is the perfect time to start treatment, before symptoms worsen. If you’ve sought help in the past but were told nothing else could be done to treat your eye condition, speak with Dr. Monte Harrel regarding the latest and most effective dry eye treatments.

If you’re ready to end the cycle of getting over-the-counter eye drops without lasting relief, contact Dr. Monte Harrel for a dry eye evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

Those with dry eye syndrome (DES) suffer from eyes that feel dry, itchy, uncomfortable, irritated and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief but are no more than a temporary solution. Eventually, patients with chronic dry eyes seek out more durable methods of treatment.

Scleral lenses are an excellent solution due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting for each patient. Though generally used to treat corneal irregularities and refractive errors, scleral lenses can also provide immense relief to dry eye patients.

Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. Scleral lenses decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness while providing sharp, clear vision.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Cornea With Scleral Lens 1280×853Scleral lenses provide relief and visual rehabilitation to patients with dry eyes and corneal irregularities. These custom designed lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the cornea. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea and provides relief for those with dry eyes.

Because these lenses are oxygen permeable, they provide the wearer with better comfort and a healthy cornea. In fact, their ability to transmit oxygen reduces eye problems, such as dry eyes, caused by diminished oxygen transmission to the cornea, which is common among most soft lens’ brands or hard (non-GP) lenses.

If you have Dry Eyes and are interested in scleral lenses, Dr. Monte Harrel can help. Experienced in fitting scleral lenses for dry eyes and other corneal conditions, Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers serves patients from all over Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Cityand Fort Smith, AK, in the state of Oklahoma.

Why Scleral Lenses Offer Relief to Those with Dry Eye Syndrome

Contact Lenses You Can Wear With Dry Eyes

Traditional soft contact lenses are not an option for those with dry eyes, as the lenses sit right on the cornea, which can be very irritating for dry eye patients. Moreover, they tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye. Wearing soft contact lenses can, therefore, prove to be virtually unbearable for the dry eye patient.

Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are comfortable since they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus avoiding the sensitive cornea.

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Scleral Lenses Provide Continuous Eye Hydration

The zone between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens is filled with a saline solution. This acts as a constant source of hydration for the eye and provides ongoing relief for the dry eye patient.

Scleral Lenses Soothe and Protect the Cornea

People with dry eyes tend to have sensitive corneas that are prone to injury. The simple act of blinking can irritate the eye or even injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses prevent damage to the cornea by shielding the patient’s eyes from the friction caused by blinking and protecting it from any external irritants or dust.

If you struggle with dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment method beyond eyedrops and artificial tears, ask Dr. Monte Harrel about scleral lenses. We will patiently assess and explain your condition to you, and will perform a specialized, scleral lens custom-fitting to ensure that you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity and comfort.

Call Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers today to schedule your consultation today.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.
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TrueTear for Dry Eye Treatment

TrueTear®, by Allergan, is a drug-free, drop-free solution that temporarily increases tear production in adult patients. This technological device emits tiny pulsations of energy that prompt your eyes to produce their own tears, offering significant relief to those with severe dry eyes.

TrueTear is made for home use and can be purchased by prescription only. Speak with Dr. Monte Harrel to learn how this device can help alleviate dry, itchy and irritable eyes, and vastly improve the quality of your life.

How Does TrueTear Work?

The tiny pulsations of energy emitted by TrueTear induce neurostimulation — a natural response that leads your eyes to produce their own tears. The device stimulates a nerve in the nasal cavity and sends out signals to the brain, which, in turn, send nerve signals to the tear glands to temporarily increase tear production.

For it to work, the TrueTear tip needs to contact the nerves located under the bridge of the nose. Just insert the tip all the way to the top part of the nose, or as far as is comfortable. You will know you’re stimulating the correct spot once you feel a tingling sensation in your nose and your eyes begin to emit tears. In certain people, tearing happens almost immediately, though it really depends on one’s individual anatomy and tear deficiency.

The TrueTear is user-friendly, as it is made up of just a few parts and only two buttons. Moreover, it offers a free app that can be seamlessly paired with your smartphone to better monitor the usage of the device.

How Does TrueTear Feel?

People typically report a tingling or tickling sensation, though it really depends on the level of strength of the energy pulsations. It is generally not uncomfortable or painful.

How Often and For How Long Do I Need to Use TrueTear?

The amount of time you use the device can vary. The TrueTear device has a built-in timer allowing for a maximum of a single 1-minute use for each cycle. To further prolong its use, simply start another cycle and use it until you feel tears coat the surface of your eye, though not beyond 3 consecutive minutes. After that, wait 1 hour before re-inserting the device into the nose.

TrueTear can be used for a total of 30 minutes per day. For most patients, we recommend they use TrueTear at least twice a week.

How Long Can I Use One Tip and How Do I Clean It?

The tip must be replaced every 48 hours, as it contains a hydrogel that dries out after two days of use. Moreover, make sure to use the tip before the expiration date printed on the packaging.

To clean the device, use an alcohol pad to gently wipe the disposable tip, but be careful to steer clear of the hydrogel areas.

All About the TrueTear App

Trifocal Lens for Cataract Surgery Patients 1280x480 640×480The free app, which can be easily paired with your smartphone, helps you track your device usage and battery level, as well as learn new ways of using TrueTear. The app also allows you to get assistance in the event that you encounter any problems with the device. Moreover, environmental conditions that can affect your eyes are displayed in the app, which includes humidity, temperature, pollen count, and pollution index.

Ask us about how TrueTear can alleviate your dry eye condition and enhance your quality of life. Dr. Monte Harrel and the caring and knowledgeable staff at Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers are always here to help patients experience the best vision care and treatment possible.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.
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Blephex for Blepharitis

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Blephex for Blepharitis

Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers is pleased to offer advanced treatment for blepharitis, BlephEx™. This device provides powerful, painless and effective treatment for those suffering from an inflammation of the eyelids that causes red, irritated and swollen eyes. If you have been diagnosed with blepharitis, or suspect you may have it, get in touch with us and we’ll provide you with the relief you need.

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis (blef-uh-RYE-tis) is a common eyelid inflammation that can develop at any age. Blepharitis typically occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged, leading to swollen, irritated and red eyes. Several diseases and conditions can cause blepharitis, such as dry eyes. Blepharitis doesn’t result in permanent vision damage and is not contagious.

What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?

A few typical symptoms include:

  • itchy, sore and red eyelids that stick together
  • crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • a burning, gritty sensation in your eyes
  • increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • swollen eyelid margins
  • wearing contact lenses become unbearable
  • abnormal eyelash growth or loss of eyelashes in severe cases

How Does BlephEx Treat Blepharitis?

tired eyesWhen properly performed, BlephEx reduces and alleviates uncomfortable blepharitis symptoms. The treatment is repeated at regular intervals depending on the severity of the condition. By eliminating the root cause of blepharitis, the overall health of the eyelid will be significantly improved and will allow you to produce more tears and enjoy life without the chronic and irritating symptoms associated with blepharitis.

How Does Blephex Work?

BlephEx is a painless in-office procedure performed by Dr. Monte Harrel. It works by removing excess bacteria and toxins that live along the lash margin that cause inflammation and eyelid disease. The BlephEx handpiece precisely and carefully spins a medical-grade disposable micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, discarding any debris and exfoliating your eyelids. A micro-sponge is used for each eye individually, so as not to spread bacteria between the eyelids. The procedure takes about 6-8 minutes to complete and is well-tolerated by the patient. Numbing drops are placed in the eyes prior to treatment for increased comfort. After the procedure, the patient will be instructed on ways to maintain clean eyelids by following nightly eyelid hygiene.

How Many Times Must BlephEx Be Performed?

The eyelids require a regular hygiene practice to prevent blepharitis and dry eye disease from recurring. It is recommended that BlephEx be administered every 4 – 6 months in order to keep bacteria to a minimum and to prevent the biofilm from developing again. Once the treatments are stopped, the biofilm will typically redevelop, leading to inflammation and damaged tear glands all over again.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of BlephEx?

BlephEx is a relatively new treatment for dry eyes and is not typically covered by insurance, though you can certainly try to submit it. Even when paying privately, it is still less costly than a years’ worth of eye drops, artificial tears, ointments, and so on.

How Soon Will I Notice a Difference?

Depending on the stage and severity of the condition, patients tend to feel a difference right after the treatment. However, if you’ve experienced significant damage to your tear glands due to blepharitis, it may take several months before observing any changes in your condition. Certain people may require multiple treatments before they begin to heal. Nightly hygiene and repeat treatments will treat, cure and prevent a recurrence.

Does Blephex Have Any Side Effects?

There will only be positive effects following the treatment. You will have removed years, if not decades, of biofilm from your eyelids and will be able to comfortably blink without having your eyelids feel sticky. Contact us to schedule your BlephEx appointment at Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers and to consult with Dr. Monte Harrel for a proper eyelid evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.
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