April 25, 2022
If you have recently been in for an ocular surface evaluation in our Dry Eye Center, you’ve probably heard Dr. Day mention the word “keratin” or “keratinization” and wondered what he’s talking about?
Keratinization is a biofilm that we naturally build up that is made up of debris from our tears which happens to sit along our waterline and often blocks our meibomian glands from secreting the natural oils that we need on the surface of the eye. It is particularly important to keep the top of our oil glands free from any debris build up, so they can function properly and secrete that oil we need within our tears for better comfort of the eyes.
If you have a significant amount seen at your Ocular Surface Evaluation, Dr. Day will often prescribe a BlephEx treatment to clean the top of the glands prior to treating the blocked glands themselves with an iLUX.
We often compare keratin to plaque with our teeth, some people may build up more in shorter amounts of time than others, therefore needing it cleaned off more frequently.
After that initial BlephEx treatment, Dr. Day will continue to assess the amount of keratin build up in between your follow ups. Typically, we can manage with a quick manual debridement of the lids at that follow up, but if you have built up a significant amount between visits, Dr. Day may prescribe another BlephEx treatment to clean things up again.
Overall, lid health and proper function is one big step to keeping your own natural healthy tears on the surface of the eye longer!