HOUSTON - Dry eyes can be a painful and frustrating condition to deal with. It can even make it difficult to see, but a new procedure is bringing relief to patients in just a few minutes.
Melodee Smith is undergoing low-light therapy for dry eyes.
"For someone who wears contacts, it's a really big pain because your contacts feel like they stick to your eyes, you can't really take your contacts out. Just kind of itchy gritty, feels like something is in your eye," says Melodee.
Dr. Allan Panzer with Houston Dry Eye Clinic has been treating dry eyes for decades and is thrilled to say he's never been able to relieve his patient's symptoms more quickly than now, with this technology.
"It's called low-level light therapy. It's used in many areas: dentistry, orthopedics, pain, anxiety control, dermatology. So low-level light therapy has been used by many people, for many things for many years. It increases cellular metabolism in a very complex way. It goes to the powerhouse of the cells and helps to energize them. It works on inflammation, decreases inflammation, and promotes healing," explains Dr. Panzer.
He says it reverses dry eye fast, and Melodee agrees and is surprised that within just 15 minutes, her eyes felt better.
"Just more moist, I don't have to blink constantly! When you have dry eye you blink more often not even knowing it because you're trying to get some lubrication on your eyes, so it already feels better. I'm anxious to be able to wear my contacts again," smiles Melodee.
"In this case, as you saw with these other people, they feel better the same day, and that is what truly astonishes me about this," exclaims Dr. Panzer.
Melodee is also thrilled it will save her money.
"My drops were costing me $700 a month with insurance. So I'm hoping that that will reduce costs significantly and I won't have to buy all these over-the-counter drops as well," says Melodee.
Sheila Pous thought her eyesight was worsening, but Dr. Panzer attributes it to dry eyes. She says the low-light therapy instantly helped her.
"It was a big difference! Big difference! I see brighter. When driving, I can see the street lights/signs, and then, what's most interesting for me is that I can watch TV in the evenings without my glasses," says Sheila.
She says she never imagined a painless procedure could help so much.
"Just a little warmth on top of your face but nothing bothersome or itchy or too hot. It was just a little bit of red on your top of your face, but you have your eyes closed, so it doesn't bother you at all," explains Sheila.
"So, everyday patients come in and say, Doctor, I just need new glasses. Check their prescription and tell them it's the same thing though. I ask them to blink and they say it clears up, then it's your tear layer," states Dr. Panzer.
So by treating that tear layer, he says patients can often see better.
People who suffer from seizures, have piercings in the nose or cheek, or are pregnant would not want to undergo the procedure.
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