Exfoliate Your Eyelids

New BlephEx® treatment tool deep cleans to alleviate itchy, teary and irritated eyes.

Itchy, red, teary eyes are symptoms familiar to many people. Sometimes allergens are the culprit, so we take an antihistamine or put in some eyedrops. However, sometimes the cause – and the symptoms – are much more serious.Hildegard Benedick was treated with BlephEx®, a new treatment for blepharitis and dry eye, by Dr. Alexandra Kostick, an ophthalmologist at Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast.

Hildegard Benedick suffered from irritated eyes for many years due to a disorder called dry eye syndrome. Ironically, a symptom of the condition, in which the eyes don’t produce enough natural tears to keep them sufficiently lubricated, is excess tearing.

Unfortunately, the surplus tears associated with dry eye are poor quality, so bacteria often begin to flourish. This can lead to a host of other issues.

A few years ago, Hildegard, who moved to Palm Coast from Virginia nearly 12 years ago, began to experience excess itchiness in her eyes. “It just came out of the blue,” she recalls. “Particularly the left eye, it started itching and tearing.”

She turned to her ophthalmologist, Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, at Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast, for help. Hildegard, 83, has been a patient there since 2009 when she needed cataract surgery.

Dr. Kostick attributed Hildegard’s symptoms to a common condition known as blepharitis.

About blepharitis

A chronic, inflammatory disease of the eyelids, blepharitis “is usually caused by an overgrowth of normal bacteria that actually live among our lids and lashes,” explains Dr. Kostick.

“The problem increases when this overgrowth of bacteria creates a sticky substance called biofilm, which traps debris in our tear film along our eyelashes. This in a sense blocks the flow of tears into the eye, causing dry eyes and also an inflammatory reaction that causes chronic redness. Your eyes can be very itchy and uncomfortable.”

Hildegard Benedick was treated with BlephEx®, a new treatment for blepharitis and dry eye, by Dr. Alexandra Kostick, an ophthalmologist at Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast.

The instrument effectively eliminates biofilm on the eyelid, along with any trapped scurf (dry, flaky skin) and toxins, which alleviates redness and itchiness and improves the overall health of the eye.

The condition gets more common as people age due to a lack of tear production, but can be exacerbated by lid abnormalities, contact lens use and even using old eye makeup and mascara.

Left untreated, blepharitis can lead to eye irritation, foreign body sensation, chronic dry eye disease and even corneal ulcers. Traditional treatments include scrubbing the eyelid edges with a cotton swab soaked in baby shampoo and applying warm compresses, topical antibiotics and steroid medications.

Unfortunately, these treatments can be difficult for some patients to administer and are often ineffective. “We have patients using topical lid scrubs or wipes to clean their lids every day, but they aren’t getting a deep cleaning,” observes Dr. Kostick.

However, a new treatment tool available at Atlantic Eye Center allows Dr. Kostick to clean a patient’s eyelid thoroughly and painlessly. Called BlephEx, the instrument effectively eliminates biofilm on the eyelid, along with any trapped scurf (dry, flaky skin) and toxins. This alleviates redness and itchiness and improves the overall health of the eye.

BlephEx basics

“BlephEx is a hand tool that’s used to very precisely and carefully clean the eyelid margin and the area where the glands release their tears,” explains Dr. Kostick. “The brush is actually a medical grade micro-sponge, and it spins very rapidly, removing debris that’s formed for months or years. In a sense, it exfoliates the eyelids and cleans everything out. It’s not painful. Patients do feel the brush spinning, but it’s almost like a tickling sensation.”

The treatment only takes a few minutes per eye, and a sterile, disposable sponge is used for each eyelid.

“It was actually quite pleasant,” describes Hildegard, who had the treatment on both eyes earlier this year. “I lay back and closed my eyes and let her do whatever she needed to do. It did not hurt at all. The sensation I would describe as more tickling, but not so that I would have to say, Okay, stop.”

BlephEx treatment needs to be repeated just a few times a year, similar to the requirements of a dental cleaning. “I equate it with when you go to your hygienist to clean your teeth,” offers Dr. Kostick. “We have the same issue in our mouth – bacteria live there naturally, too, and we normally go to the dentist once or twice a year to get a deep cleaning. BlephEx is kind of the same thing, but with the eyelids.”

Hildegard Benedick was treated with BlephEx®, a new treatment for blepharitis and dry eye, by Dr. Alexandra Kostick, an ophthalmologist at Atlantic Eye Center in Palm Coast.

Dr. Kostick demonstrates how BlephEx works on
Hildegard, who says the treatment is “quite pleasant.”

“Eye care specialists”

In addition to the new BlephEx tool, the professionals at Atlantic Eye Center offer an array of services. “We’re eye care specialists,” assures Dr. Kostick, “and we truly care about our patients. If a patient comes in with a problem, we tend to them right away. We just don’t believe in sending our patients elsewhere for care when we can provide it right here. Also, we don’t push any products on patients or try to sell them anything they do not need.”

“She’s very competent and sympathetic,” observes Hildegard, who only needed one BlephEx treatment to begin feeling better.

“I’m doing fine,” she emphasizes. “She’s doing much better,” reports Dr. Kostick. “She noticed improvement immediately after the treatment.”

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    • Atlantic Eye Center

      Flagler County’s leading female board-certified ophthalmologist, serving the county since 1996, is at Atlantic Eye Center. Benefits the center offers you include: A multi-trained and highly regarded doctor Unparalleled eye care experien... Read More

    • Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC

      Alexandra Kostick, MD, FACS, FRCSC, is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. After earning her medical degree at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Dr. Kostick served a mixed surgery internship at St. Boniface Hospital at... Read More