Oil Be Back

Treatment gets clogged glands flowing again, ending painful styes and dry eye.



As a younger woman, Camille Marro made a decent living on Wall Street. However, once the New York native became pregnant with the first of her six children, she shifted gears and became a stay-at-home mom. When her children headed off to school, she shifted gears again.

“My kids’ school needed people to help the children in the classroom, so I became a classroom volunteer,” shares Camille, 65. “After a while, I became certified to work in preschool. I’ve been doing that for about 11 years, and it’s great.”

“I work half-days, from 8:30 in the morning until 12:30 p.m. teaching preschool and pre-K3, and I just love the kids. I love the age. The kids are very cute and funny. I enjoy that most about my job.”

Seeking a better “quality of life” and warmer winters, Camille and her family relocated from New York to Florida in 1999. In June 2021, however, Camille’s quality of life was diminished when she developed a stye on her left upper eyelid. 

Styes are reddish, painful lumps that form due to blockages in the oil glands of the eyelids. The blockages can cause the oil glands, known as meibomian glands, to expand and become inflamed, which can lead to irritation and infection.

“Mine hurt really bad, and I tried everything to get rid of it,” Camille says of her stye. “I put hot compresses on my eye. I put tea bags on my eye. I did everything I could think of and it just wouldn’t go away. Not even the doctors could get rid of it.”

Camille visited seven physicians for help, and on their advice tried several
over-the-counter and prescription medications, but none of the treatments worked.

Finally, she visited a plastic surgeon who removed the stye surgically.

“That was in July of 2021,” Camille relates. “After that, I developed a stye under my right eye, so I went back to my original eye doctor, and he gave me a new medication. That was August 3, but that medication did nothing.

“At that point, I actually talked to my dog’s doctor. She told me to try an anti-inflammatory medicine called ketorolac and gave me a prescription.” 

The stye went away, but Camille’s eye health remained a concern because she was also dealing with symptoms of dry eye disease, an ocular surface disorder that occurs when the tears can’t provide sufficient lubrication to keep the eyes moist.

“My eyes were dry, and they hurt,” Camille describes. “It felt like there was sand in my eyes.”

Frustrated with her situation, Camille sought to learn more about styes and dry eye and how to prevent them. Soon after, a friend gave her a copy of Florida Health Care News, where she found an article about Clifford L. Salinger, MD, a cornea specialist and founder of The Dry Eye Spa & V.I.P. Laser Eye Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

“The article was about a young lady who had the same issues I was having: recurrent styes and dry eye,” Camille relates. “So, I made an appointment and brought in my photos and records. When I went to see Dr. Salinger, I once again had a stye on my right eyelid.”

Dysfunctional Glands

“Ms. Marro came to us in November 2021 with significant dry eye. She was also experiencing chalazia, or styes, from time to time that irritated both eyes,” Dr. Salinger recalls. “The problem was that Ms. Marro’s meibomian glands were becoming clogged and could not release their oils. That led to an imbalance of oil and water in her tear layer that affected the quality of tears and resulted in dry eye symptoms.”

To jumpstart her recovery, Dr. Salinger started Camille on a comprehensive dry eye regimen, which includes hot compresses, lid cleansing and massage, a topical antibiotic, in some cases an oral antibiotic, and vitamin supplements that contain omega-3 and omega-6.

Because tear quantity was also an issue, the doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory steroid eyedrop. By decreasing inflammation of the ocular surface, particularly of the conjunctiva and lacrimal glands, tear production is enhanced. 

“In addition, we recommended she run a humidifier in her home to put moisture back in the air that is removed by air conditioning,” Dr. Salinger discloses. “We also recommended she wear protective eyewear, such as wraparound glasses, everywhere she goes.

“When the automatic doors open at a store, you are hit with a huge gust of air that can cause instant dryness if you’re not wearing eye protection. So, we encourage patients to keep their eye protection on until they are five or 10 steps inside the store.” 

Camille’s condition improved somewhat on Dr. Salinger’s protocol, but the antibiotic upset her stomach. As a result, Dr. Salinger recommended treatment with the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System from TearScience®. LipiFlow is a revolutionary, FDA-approved method for clearing debris that obstructs the oil glands.

Heat and Massage 

LipiFlow combines the controlled application of therapeutic heat with a gentle, pulsating massage. These functions work to liquefy and remove debris from the oil glands, enabling them to function more efficiently. 

“After the LipiFlow treatment, we performed a manual expression of Ms. Marro’s meibomian glands to remove any remaining clogging material,” Dr. Salinger reports. “This makes room for healthier oil material to populate the glands and flow normally so the tear layer is more stable and uniform, which improves the dryness.”

Following the LipiFlow process, Dr. Salinger maintains dry eye patients on the previous regimen, which helps amplify and extend the benefits of the LipiFlow. Over time, the goal is to find the least amount of treatment that can maintain the effectiveness of the LipiFlow.

“Ms. Marro’s stye had resolved before we performed the LipiFlow in January 2022,” Dr. Salinger notes. “We can do the LipiFlow procedure if there is an old, relatively inactive, non-painful remnant of a stye. But if there is an active, inflamed stye, it is not an ideal time to do the LipiFlow. It will be too uncomfortable for the individual.

“After receiving the LipiFlow treatment in both eyes, Ms. Marro reported 80 to 90 percent improvement in her dry eye symptoms. It helped the structure and function of her meibomian glands so they are happier and healthier, and the styes have not recurred.”

“No More Styes”

Camille was impressed not only with the results of the LipiFlow treatment but with the advanced technology that Dr. Salinger employed in advance of it.

“Before he did the LipiFlow, Dr. Salinger used another amazing machine,” Camille elaborates. “I put my eyes in it, and it showed all the oil glands that have closed up, which was causing me to get the styes.

“And since the LipiFlow treatment, I’ve had no more styes, and my dry eye symptoms have gotten better. My eyes are good now because I don’t have that feeling of sand in them anymore.

“Now, I do maintenance on my eyes. Every day, I scrub my eyelashes, then I put drops in my eyes. I use the warm compresses once or twice a week.”

She also takes HydroEye®, a supplement that helps relieve dry, itchy eyes. 

Camille has kind words for the doctor and his staff.

“Dr. Salinger is my hero,” she raves. “Of all the doctors I visited, he was the only one who was able to help me. He is very knowledgeable, answers all my questions and explains everything thoroughly. All the people that work at The Dry Eye Spa & V.I.P. Laser Eye Center are amazing, and I highly recommend them.”

© FHCN staff article

Photos courtesy of Camille Marro

As seen in North/West Palm Beach and South Palm Beach

editions of Florida Health Care News.

Print This Article