UAB Medicine News


Reading, Retirement Improve for Patient Thanks to Dry Eye Relief

Concord, Ala., resident Maxine Earley is truly enjoying her retirement years, especially since undergoing a revolutionary procedure called LipiFlow at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital to treat dry eye.“I have worn glasses since I was 10 years old and worked at a computer for nearly 30 years before I retired,” Earley says. “However, I started to notice as I was reading more that my eyes were itching, and I would rub them without even thinking about it. In general, my eyes felt tired because they were having to work so hard. I knew this wasn’t normal.”

Normally when we blink, a natural lubricating film spreads over the eye to keep the surface smooth and clear, which is vital for healthy, clear vision. Dry eye occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears naturally or don’t produce the right kind of tears. This frustrating condition is often caused by aging, diseases such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and certain medications.

Earley was one of the nearly 5 million Americans over the age of 50 suffering from dry eye. An avid reader of fiction and mysteries, she leads an active lifestyle, having traveled with friends and family to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and many other countries. She has been a patient at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital for years under the care of Rita Armitage, MD, but was referred to Priscilla Fowler, MD, in March 2017 to address her dry eye condition.

“Before LipiFlow came on the market, there was very little a physician could do besides recommend warm compresses and Omega-3 to help with dry eye symptoms,” Dr. Fowler says. “Now we have LipiFlow, the first in-office treatment that is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure for dry eye that helps restore the production and quality of tears. It combines heat and physical massage in an effort to get the eye’s surface back to normal again.”

UAB Callahan Eye Hospital first began offering the LipiFlow treatment for dry eye relief in 2016. The outpatient procedure opens and clears blocked glands, allowing the body to resume the natural production of oils needed to generate healthy tears. LipiFlow often eliminates the uncomfortable symptoms associated with dry eye.

“I had all of these preconceived notions about how the treatment would go,” Earley says. “You prepare for the worst in situations where you are worried, but the procedure was a cake walk. I was comfortable the entire time, felt informed by Dr. Fowler and her amazing staff, and the procedure itself exceeded all of my expectations.”

Reading is now significantly easier for Earley, as she doesn’t find herself struggling with itchy, tired eyes. She is preparing to leave for Norway on August 26 with a group of friends from fifth grade, and she looks forward to an enjoyable trip without dry eye.

If you think you might be suffering from dry eye or have any of the following symptoms, please call our office at 205-325-8620 to schedule an evaluation:

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching, sore, or fatigued eyes
  • Dryness
  • Red eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
Find out if you're at risk for dry eye by taking our quiz at