Eye cleanser makes hygiene comfortable
NovaBay Avenova has a low toxicity but kills eyelid bacteria in dry eye or blepharitis patients.
By Rebecca Hanlon, Contributing Editor
Daily eyelid hygiene routines that maintain proper tear production and keep eyes comfortable are especially important for blepharitis and dry eye patients. However, these routines could also be a struggle for patients who deal with the discomfort and irritation of some cleaning regimens.
This struggle might be a thing of the past. A new cleanser, Avenova with Neutrox, cleans the eyelids of bacteria and “feels like a soothing drop of water in the eye,” says Stephen Wilmarth, MD, of Wilmarth Eye in Roseville, Calif. Neutrox, a pure hypochlorous acid (HClO) found in white blood cells, helps to kill microbial invaders and neutralize bacterial toxins. Dr. Wilmarth is impressed with how Avenova has helped patients with dry eye or blepharitis because of its low toxicity.
“Good eyelid hygiene is very important to maintain proper tear production and to keep your eyes comfortable,” he said. “Just as people brush their teeth daily for good dental hygiene, my patients use Avenova daily for good lid hygiene and eye health.”
Ivan Mac, MD, of Metrolina Eye Associates in Monroe, N.C., and his staff instruct patients to use a flat cotton round and spray it twice with Avenova to mist the pad. Then, they tell patients to look up and scrub horizontally on the lower eyelash, look down and do the same to the top. Patients should use a clean cotton round for each eye, he says.
Most patients begin their Avenova regimen with twice-daily cleanings along with supplemental treatments, such as artificial tears. After a few weeks, most patients cut back to once-daily application, finding they can stop using those other treatments.
“Dry eye gets worse as we get older, so anyone in their 50s to 70s with complaints of dry eye and irritation will find it works very well,” Dr. Mac says.
Dr. Mac has been using Avenova coupled with intense pulsed light therapy, which he finds helps the light treatments work faster in keeping glands open. He also prescribes it to cataract surgery patients to clean eyelid margins of debris and microbes, typically starting patients on the solution a few days before surgery and continuing it post-op.
“We’re finding a lot of patients want to stay on (Avenova) because their eyelids feel clean and comfortable,” Dr. Mac says. “It’s becoming a long-term therapy for a lot of patients.”
Terrence O’Brien, MD, of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Fla., says blepharitis has been increasingly difficult to treat because of the resistance the body builds against antibiotics. Doctors had moved away from antibiotic creams because they did not offer a long-term solution, he says.
“Avenova is causing a little bit of a paradigm shift in our thinking about blepharitis,” Dr. O’Brien said. “We’re now trying to maintain a balance so the bacteria doesn’t overgrow or contribute to the disease. It’s a new way of thinking about hygiene, where patients need to be educated about it.”
Steven Rosenfeld, MD, with Delray Eye Associates in Delray Beach, Fla., believes and lab studies have confirmed that Avenova is a “natural killer” when it comes to reducing bacteria. In addition to soothing the patient’s eyes, he says it effectively reduces bacteria that can lead to harmful eye infections after surgery.
“It has helped a much higher percentage of blepharitis patients respond to treatment,” he says. “They are feeling better, they are seeing better and it makes for happier patients.”
Dr. Rosenfeld says patients often pay about $30 for a bottle of Avenova, which lasts one month with a twice-a-day application. Some doctors carry the product in their offices, says Dr. Rosenfeld, although he refers patients to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription. Some pharmacies will even deliver it, Dr. Rosenfeld says, which most of his patients find very convenient.
Dr. Rosenfeld finds that his patients are more inclined to follow a hygiene regimen when it doesn’t burn the eyes or cause irritation, and he believes Avenova’s treatments offer hope for many dry eye and blepharitis patients.
“I hope there will be other applications for this because it’s a wonderful killer of microorganisms,” Dr. Rosenfeld says. “I think we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg for the potential application of this product.” OM
Disclosure: Dr. Wilmarth is a member of the ophthalmic advisory board of NovaBay.