Lipiflow Specialist

Emily Sarah Charlson, M.D., Ph.D. -  - Ophthalmology, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Eyelid and Facial Surgery

Emily Sarah Charlson, M.D., Ph.D.

Ophthalmology, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Eyelid and Facial Surgery located in Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA

About 20 million Americans have chronic dry eye, a condition that makes eyes irritated, itchy, and uncomfortable. Eyes have a natural film of tears to keep them moist, but clogged glands are a common cause of uncomfortable dry eyes. At her practice in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California, Emily Sarah Charlson, MD, PhD, treats chronic dry eye with LipiFlow® — a non-invasive device that stimulates healthy tear production. Find relief from dry eye and book your consultation with Dr. Charlson online or on the phone.

Lipiflow Q & A

What causes dry eyes?

A tear film made of water, mucus, and lipids coats the surface of healthy eyes. The tear film keeps your eyes from drying out, and it’s replenished each time you blink. 

Glands inside your eyelids secrete tears, but sometimes, those glands get blocked. Chronic dry eye is a medical condition that develops when blockages significantly impact the quantity and quality of your tear film.

Anyone can suffer from dry eyes, but some people are more likely to have chronic dry eye. Tear production naturally declines with age, so older people are at greater risk of chronic dry eye. Using electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops for extended periods of time can also contribute to chronic dry eye.

What is LipiFlow?

LipiFlow is a device that uses compression and heat to release blockages inside eyelid glands, particularly the meibomian glands. The meibomian glands are found inside your inner eyelids, and they secrete oily lipids that make up the top layer of the tear film.

The LipiFlow system is equipped with activators that fit over your eyes. The activators deliver therapeutic energy that feels like a warm massage. Treatment is completely non-invasive, and the activators are sterile and single-use, so LipiFlow is considered a safe and effective procedure.

If you need eyelid surgery for another reason, Dr. Charlson may recommend LipiFlow along with the surgical procedure. Getting LipiFlow before eyelid surgery unblocks eyelid glands and primes them for optimal function afterward.

What is LipiFlow treatment like?

Getting LipiFlow treatment is a simple in-office procedure. Dr. Charlson begins by examining your eyelids with the LipiScan imaging device to reach a diagnosis and determine if glands are blocked.

She administers numbing eye drops to help you remain comfortable during treatment and places the LipiFlow activators over your eyes. The activators are dome-shaped to protect your eyes, and treatment focuses on the inner eyelids.

The system gently heats the eyelids and applies pressure to work blockages out. The combination of heat and massage liquifies blockages and clears the obstruction so your eyelid glands can function properly.

The treatment takes about 10-15 minutes, and there’s no downtime after the procedure is over. Many people find that the results they experience with LipiFlow treatment last up to two years.

Find out if LipiFlow could be the dry eye solution you’ve been searching for. Schedule your consultation online or call Dr. Charlson’s office today.