Dr. Smith’s Invention
Listen to audio of this page using the player below.Hello, my name is Walton Smith; I am a doctor of optometry with 34 years of clinical practice.
An experienced eye care provider will readily tell you there are common eye conditions that do not get the attention that they deserve. Generally, this is because there has been no easy and effective treatment. Imagine you are an eye doctor, and you see the same problem day after day. You know it is a chronic problem that will only get worse if left untreated. But, the current treatments all have drawbacks and provide only limited and temporary relief.
You are aware that the most effective treatment for a chronic condition is a chronic treatment. You also know that this particular condition responds well to a simple treatment - heat and massage. If you are trained in eye care, you have probably already guessed that I am talking about meibomian gland dysfunction as a cause of dry eye. Dry eye is one of the most common, subjective complaints eye doctors hear. Meibomian gland dysfunction is the major cause of common dry eye.
There are numerous treatments for meibomian gland dysfunction. But, as doctors are aware, the availability of numerous treatment options often implies none are highly satisfactory. I will not discuss the pros and cons of each option, but I will state evidence shows that heat combined with massage is the tried and true treatment approach. Even when other management is indicated, heat and massage will complement all therapy, particularly for chronic control.
Knowing this, why don’t eye doctors recommend heat and massage universally? The basic reason is that it is not user friendly. The process is cumbersome, messy and, in the case of many elderly patients, impossible or even dangerous.
The conventional technique is to instruct the patient to warm a wet wash cloth, a homemade rice bag or even a potato in a microwave. The heated material is then placed on the closed lids until the eyes are warm. Following warming, the upper and lower eyelids are massaged with fingertips, and the process is repeated. As one can imagine, this process does not encourage compliance. Furthermore, many patients do not have the manual dexterity to perform the task satisfactorily. And, heaven forbid they burn themselves!
I have designed and applied for a patent on a simple device that overcomes the logistical problems confronted by patients who have been advised to perform heat and massage. This hand-held device employs a rechargeable battery handle and has a charging stand much like an electric toothbrush. Its head is shaped to the contour of the closed eye. It has a replaceable, silicone cover that contacts the eyelid and transmits thermostatically-controlled heat to the lid. Heating the meibomian glands causes the natural lubricating oils to flow.
The device head also oscillates in an orbital fashion to “milk” the glands as the oils become available. The latter process fortifies ocular secretions with the natural components required for healthy tears.
This device is used on one eye at a time so that patients can watch television or carry on a conversation while treating themselves simply and easily.
I have collected numerous, recent, academic articles regarding dry eye. I would be happy to review them and elaborate this concept more fully with your company representative.
Many people would benefit from such a device. Demographics from respected sources estimate there are millions of North Americans and tens of millions of dry eye sufferers worldwide. Please refer to the demographics page for a review of industry and professional expert opinion.
I believe that this device would be welcomed by most eye care providers, as it would simplify their treatment plan and lead to better outcomes for their patients. The device could be sold retail and/or be amenable to third party insurance, including Medicare billing.
I am targeting respected companies that have the capability to manufacture and market this item. I am seeking an exclusive licensee. If you have any interest in this project, please contact me as soon as possible.