Are you tired of your eyes feeling like they’re burning, blurry, irritated, or uncomfortable? Do you feel a grittiness, like you have sand in your eyes, but you haven’t been to the beach in ages?
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have dry eye disease, a common condition where your eyes don’t produce enough natural lubrication – aka tears. Not only does this feel incredibly aggravating, it's also a chronic ailment and, if left untreated, can lead to long-term issues.
Dr. Brandon Baker and Dr. Ashala Mah, optometrists and co-owners of Garibaldi Eye Care clinic in downtown Squamish can help you achieve much-needed relief for your eyes, as well as treatments for your skin, with their newest state-of-the-art, non-invasive, non-surgical technologies: FORMA-I and LUMECCA, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL).
FORMA-I is a hand-held device that delivers radiofrequency to treat dry eye while simultaneously reducing periorbital wrinkles. Think of it like a warm massage for your eyes that improves blood circulation and reduces the appearance of crow's feet and fine lines.
"We're the only eye doctors with this technology in the Sea to Sky corridor," says Mah.
IPL has been used for two decades by dermatologists to improve the appearance of freckles, sun damage, age spots and vascular conditions like rosacea. Patients who have undergone the procedure experienced significant improvement in their dry eyes.
As a result, IPL was optimized specifically for long-lasting dry eye relief and has emerged as one of the most successful treatments for dry eye disease.
“Prior to having IPL treatments, I wasn't able to wear my contacts more than one or two days a week," reveals Baker. "I've had about six IPL treatments now, and I can wear my contacts seven days a week again."
"Many patients are complaining about dry eyes. It’s becoming more prevalent these days because of increased screen time and this Zoom-based culture," says Mah. "Mask-wearing really exasperates it as well."
“People in the Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton area are so active," she says, "I do think there is an unmet need for dry eye therapy; if you can't wear your contacts, it can be really frustrating participating in your sport."
Decreased tear production commonly develops as you age. However, it also occurs from chronic diseases, including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, laser eye surgery, or tear gland damage. FORMA-I helps your body produce its own natural tears again.
"We wanted to provide people with something different than eye drops and warm compresses, which is typically a band-aid solution," explains Mah. "FORMA-I is actually treating the root cause of your dry eyes."
She adds, "Not only did we see a growing need, but also I was drawn to it because of its aesthetic application: it helps tighten fine lines and wrinkles around the eye, too."
Procedure, results and cost
"Typically, FORMA-I treatments are 20 to 30 minutes," says Baker. "People notice improvement after just one treatment, but the objective is to get them to a level where they're producing their own natural tears."
If hot compresses aren’t alleviating your dry eyes, this may be the next logical, and far more effective, step. Patients can book a free consultation with no downtime or side effects.
"For IPL, we recommend four to six treatments and a maintenance treatment every four to six months," says Mah. "It's a 15-minute session, including buffer time and getting checked into the clinic."
After just one IPL session, patients notice significant improvements in the complexion and clarity of their skin.
You can opt to do a single treatment of either FORMA-I or IPL, or do the two together.
"You could have two treatments in one session, if we think it’s beneficial" says Baker. "We give free dry eye assessments and offer treatment packages: the more treatments you buy, the more you save.”
"We're very excited about these machines and this technology specifically because we're such big believers," he says. "I can't say enough about how great my eyes feel after this treatment."
“We feel that our industry is moving into more of a service-based model.” Says Mah. “We are happy to be able to provide more services and solutions for our patients, in addition to doing routine eye exams and dispensing glasses and contact lenses.”
To book an appointment, visit Booking.opto.com or call 778-906-0936.