A set of goggles with removable foam pads can help improve dry eye symptoms, according to a physician who has recommended the eyewear for his patients.
Jonathan R. Pirnazar, MD, performed a small informal study in his practice to evaluate Tranquileyes Eye Hydrating Therapy goggles from EyeEco. He said most patients had a positive response to the goggles.
Dr. Pirnazar said the problem of dry eye is an important issue. In his position at the University of California, Irvine, he treats about 10 to 20 patients with dry eye every week, with symptoms including foreign body sensation, sensitivity to light and reflex tearing.
Members of a dry eye support group at the university meet regularly to talk about different treatment technologies available. Dr. Pirnazar said he was approached by EyeEco to have his patients try the goggles. Members of the dry eye support group were willing, and he said he was willing to oversee the small study.
I wanted to see if patients would notice a difference, more than anything else, Dr. Pirnazar said. To my surprise, they did notice a difference using these goggles, even just using them 1 hour a day. Granted, it was a small study, and the only thing we checked was staining patterns.
In the study, about 15 patients with chronic dry eye used the Tranquileyes Eye Hydrating Therapy moisture eye goggles for at least 1 hour during waking hours for 2 weeks. Dr. Pirnazar graded patient characteristics, including fluorescein and rose bengal staining.
After 2 weeks of wearing the goggles, Dr. Pirnazar said, the patients rose bengal staining remained mostly unchanged, but fluorescein staining patterns had a slight improvement. About half to three-quarters of patients reported that their dry eyes subjectively felt better, he said. He said the product appears to be an effective way to help some patients with chronically dry eyes.
The study was limited because it was not controlled, Dr. Pirnazar said. Also, there was no Schirmer testing or technical scoring of patients symptoms.
How the goggles work
The goggles work by trapping moisture, thus increasing heat and humidity around the eye, Dr. Pirnazar said. They do so by fitting tightly across the orbital portion of the eye socket, he said.
Dr. Pirnazar has used the goggles himself and found them soothing, he said.
The replaceable foam inserts that cover the eyes make the goggles versatile, Dr. Pirnazar said. The inserts can be submerged in ice water for a cold compress or in warm water for a hot compress, he noted. When the inserts are soaked in warm water, they create heat to help stimulate tear production. When soaked in cold water, they can help reduce puffiness caused by allergies, or, lack of sleep or as a result of PRK, according to literature from EyeEco.
The company also recommends using the goggles to create complete darkness to aid in sleeping, improving comfort while traveling and reducing eye puffiness.
The goggles can also be beneficial for treating other eye conditions such as meibomitis or blepharitis, Dr. Pirnazar said. He said the goggles seem to work well when worn at least a half hour per day.
Dr. Pirnazar said he sees the goggles as a late treatment option for patients with chronic dry eye that has not responded to other therapies, such as artificial tears, cyclosporine drops or punctal plugs.
I use the goggles with the attitude that it cant hurt, it can only help after weve tried everything else, he said. For patients who are suffering, it is something that is totally safe.
For more information:
- Jonathan R. Pirnazar, MD, is an assistant instructor at the University of California Irvine. He can be reached at 118 Med Surge 1, Irvine, CA 92697; 949-824-9276; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- EyeEco, maker of Tranquileyes, can be reached at 40485 MHS Road, Murrieta, CA 92563; 888-730-7999; fax: 951-677-1824; Web site: www.eyeeco.com.
- Erin L. Boyle is an OSN Staff Writer who covers all aspects of ophthalmology.