What is TearCare and How Does It Help With Dry Eye? | Westlake Eye Specialists

What is TearCare and How Does It Help With Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a very common eye condition that can cause numerous symptoms, including burning, itching, and redness. Although dry eye is a chronic issue in some cases, many treatments are available that can help improve your symptoms.

One often effective treatment method is TearCare. Keep reading to learn more about TearCare and how it can help with dry eye!

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a common problem with many potential sources. Typically, eyes become dry due to insufficient tear quantity or quality. 

The problem with low tear quantity is that if you aren’t producing enough tears, your eyes become dry. But what does it mean to have poor tear quality?

Your tears are made up of three distinct layers. The mucous layer helps the tears adhere to the eye to provide moisturization, the watery layer holds the nutrients and nourishes the eye, and the oily layer coats the outside to prevent the tear from evaporating too quickly. 

When there is a problem with tear quality, it is almost always with that last oily layer. The thin layer of oil that coats the tear comes out of tiny glands in the eyelid. 

As you blink, the glands secrete oil over the tear film. It works very well until the glands become blocked. 

Dirt or debris can get stuck in the opening of the glands themselves and can build up waxy deposits. Regardless of the cause, the results are the same: tears that are of poor quality that do not provide adequate lubrication.

What is TearCare?

If you’ve never had a dysfunction with your tear production, you probably have never heard of TearCare. TearCare is a safe and effective procedure that helps unblock the glands in your eyelids.

It consists of just two small heat pads that are placed on your upper and lower eyelids.

How Does TearCare Work?

In order for the oil that has hardened or become blocked in the glands to resume normal operation, the oil must be softened, or the blockage must be removed. 

The simplest way to do this is to heat the oil and apply gentle pressure. The heat and pressure need to be intense enough to work but gentle enough not to damage your eyes. 

TearCare strikes this balance perfectly. More specifically, here’s what happens during the procedure:


Your eyes are examined by the eye doctor. They will determine how bad your dry eye symptoms are and decide if TearCare will be effective.


If TearCare is selected as the treatment, the doctor will first clean your eyelids. 

Application of TearCare System

A pair of forked, disposable heat pads are applied to the eyelids. All four eyelids are covered individually.


The heat pads are activated, warming the eyelids and loosening the blockage. 


Once the eyelids are gently heated, the eyelids are gently massaged to get the oil flowing through the glands.  

How Long TearCare Takes

The TearCare procedure is very fast and quite simple. It only takes about fifteen minutes to complete TearCare. 

TearCare Is Minimally Invasive

TearCare is not a surgical procedure. After the short treatment of heating and massaging, you’ll be good to go. 

Some people may experience mild discomfort and redness since the eyelids can be sensitive. Those symptoms should resolve within a few hours. 

TearCare has Long-Lasting Results

While the results from TearCare may or may not be permanent, they are usually long-lasting. Studies have proven TearCare to be effective in patients for several months to over a year. 

TearCare alleviates dry eye symptoms until the underlying cause of the dry eye is found and cured.  

TearCare Can Improve Overall Eye Health

Having a healthy tear film is more important than you might think. Not only do tears keep your eyes hydrated and lubricated, but they protect them as well. 

The tear film is a barrier between your eye and infectious diseases or damage from debris. Without a healthy tear film, your eyes are at risk of many other issues.

Severe dry eye can even cause permanent vision loss and scarring.  

What Other Dry Eye Treatments Are Available?

TearCare is not the only way to unblock the oil glands in your eyelids. Lipiflow is another type of gland expression therapy that can be as effective as TearCare.

TearCare and Lipiflow aim for the same outcome, which is to unblock the oil glands and achieve it by heating up and massaging the eyelids. However, the way they work is slightly different.

TearCare is applied only to the outside of the eyelid. The LipiFlow device treats both the inside of the eyelid and the outside.

The heat and pressure are carefully controlled. Both dry eye treatments are offered in Austin at Westlake Eye Specialists because they each have unique advantages.

TearCare is much more adjustable and able to fit smaller eyelids than Lipiflow. Lipiflow can heat both sides of the eyelid while applying the pressure necessary to clear out the glands. 

Ultimately it is up to you and your doctor to determine which is best for you. 

Are you experiencing symptoms of dry eye? Schedule an appointment at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX, today to see if TearCare may be able to help reduce your symptoms!