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Optometrists add dry eye treatment

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Drs. Zack Bartels and Derek Slinker of Springfield Eye Specialists LLC have invested in new technology to combat chronic dry eye.

Citing some 33 million people nationwide that deal with the condition, the doctors purchased a Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, according to a news release. They say their practice will be the first in southwest Missouri to offer the treatment to address meibomian gland dysfunction, the leading cause of chronic dry eye.

“MGD can happen to anyone. Once the oil glands dry up and fragment, we can’t get them back,” Bartels said in the release. “Eye exams now include an eye-gland scan for early detection to save your glands before they are gone for good,” he said. “If you’re a candidate [for] this procedure, (it) has a near perfect success rate in regenerating your oil glands for up to three years.”

The cost for the equipment was $36,000, Bartels said.

People at a higher risk for MGD include those who have other health problems, glaucoma, use contacts or those who have undergone eye surgery, according to the release. Traditional treatments include over-the-counter artificial tears, ointments, supplements or prescription eye drops.

According to the release, patients of Springfield Eye Specialists used to travel to Kansas City or St. Louis to access the new Lipiflow technology.

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