This is my personal experience of using the new model of BLEPHASTEAM® (mark 2) which has just been released for sale in the UK.
As a dry eye sufferer myself (MGD) I am well placed to comment on its effectiveness and usability. I have also been a regular user of the original BLEPHASTEAM® for several years so I can compare directly the experience of using the different models.
When reading this review, please remember that it's my own experience that I have documented and not an independent view.
John Waddington (Co-director at Eyewear Accessories Ltd)
Out with the old and in with the new...
The much awaited new BLEPHASTEAM® is now available in the UK.
In appearance it is bang up to date compared with the original version. But is it any good? Is it worth the £350 price tag?
Here's a summary of my findings...
I found the new BLEPHASTEAM® much easier to live with than the original goggles were.
Mark 2 BLEPHASTEAM® also seemed to deliver a warmer, more consistent temperature than my original goggles.
After each treatment, my eyes felt refreshed and comfortably moisturised, while my vision was sharper and brighter.
Using BLEPHASTEAM® and massaging my eyelids directly after each treatment did reduce my dry eye symptoms but I still had to wear my moisture chamber glasses whenever I used my computer or watched the TV.
Was it worth the £350 price tag? For some people, yes. For me, I am not sure. I have had much more success with NuLids treatment.
How BLEPHASTEAM® mark 2 compares with the original design
Here are some of the key points that impressed me over the original design.
Wireless design gives you greater flexibility
- New BLEPHASTEAM® is wireless, so you don't have to sit in one place near an electrical socket in order to enjoy the therapy. In fact, you can theoretically use your BLEPHASTEAM® wherever you like - you can walk around during the therapy, sit in a chair, watch TV, use a computer or mobile phone, read a book, or even do some cooking. Just be sensible - obviously don't wear it when driving or cycling, don't wear it outdoors in rainy weather, and if you can't see clearly without wearing glasses, limit your movements to what feels safe.
Much more stylish and ergonomically designed
- The ugly, uncomfortable goggles that you wore when using the mark 1 device have been replaced by a sleek modern visor with a much enlarged field of vision. And of course, because the new BLEPHASTEAM® is wireless you no longer have to put up with leads trailing from the goggles to the heat unit.
- The new face mask is much more stylish than the old goggles were and is both lighter and more comfortable to wear - even if you have a small head. The elasticated headband offers ample scope for being lengthened or shortened so you can now achieve a good fit without the face mask slipping down.
- The face mask is actually much more compact than the photos released by the manufacturer suggest and there is a child's version of the water carrier that is small enough for kids aged from 3 and upwards to use, under supervision of course.
Easier and quicker to charge up
- The new BLEPHASTEAM® comes with a well designed charging station which you park it on in between therapy sessions. The manufacturer recommends that you keep your BLEPHASTEAM® sitting on the charging station all the time so that the device is fully charged whenever you want to use it.
- BLEPHASTEAM® mark 2 takes much less time to heat up ready for use than was the case with mark 1 (around 4 minutes now rather than 15 minutes).
- BLEPHASTEAM® mark 2 communicates with you more clearly than was the case with mark 1. For example, the old Blephasteam goggles did not beep to tell you when the goggles had heated up and were ready for use. I used to have to set a timer for 10 minutes and keep checking the colour of the status light on the BLEPHASTEAM® to see when it was ready for use.
With the new design, you hear clear beeping noises to indicate that the device is heated up and again once the therapy session is complete.
Ease of set up
- The new BLEPHASTEAM® is a little more complicated to set up than the mark 1 device. There are very clear step by step instructions to follow and you can expect to set up the device for the first time in about 15 minutes. However, if you suffer from poor manual dexterity you may need to get someone to assist you.
- You need to allow about an hour and a half to charge the base station for the first time. After that, you can keep the BLEPHASTEAM® on its charging station so that it is ready whenever you want to use it.
- You do not have the fiddly task of wetting and inserting delicate paper rings in the goggles as you did with mark 1. This is now replaced by a simpler task of wetting the water carrier capsule and slotting it inside the new BLEPHASTEAM® face mask.
More comfortable in use
The view out of the new BLEPHASTEAM® face mask is much better than the original model. Gone are the unsightly, uncomfortable goggles which had limited peripheral vision.
The goggles have been replaced by a sleek modern face mask with a large visor that enables you to see a wider field of vision. It is easier to adjust the headband to accommodate the exact size you need and once adjusted, the mask felt comfortable in use - more so than the old goggles were.
Cost of buying ongoing consumables
- The ongoing cost of buying packs of replacement paper rings which could get quite expensive has been replaced by the cost of replacing the water carrier from time to time (£16.99 plus postage).
- From what I have seen of the product so far the water carrier is pretty durable and with care it is likely to last a lot longer than the 3 months recommended by the manufacturer. Watch this space for further comment on this issue once I have used the new BLEPHASTEAM® for a longer period of time.
On the downside
- After wearing the device, I had goggle rings around my eyes where the water carrier pressed against my skin. These took longer than I hoped to disappear so you may not wish to go out until they go away.
- For a busy, working person like me it was difficult to incorporate it consistently into a daily routine.
So is the new BLEPHASTEAM® worth paying for?
The cost of a new BLEPHASTEAM® is now £350 which is quite a price hike compared with the original model.
However, consider this..
- Mark 2 BLEPHASTEAM® is much easier to use and more comfortable to wear than the original version
- Mark 2 appears to deliver a warmer, more moist rich environment inside the mask than mark 1 and a consistent temperature, unlike a heated eye bag
- The mark 1 price of £200 had not gone up for a long time
- New mark 1 devices are no longer available on sale
To find out more about new BLEPHASTEAM®
You may wish to visit our BLEPHASTEAM® product page which describes its key features and how the new device works. It is also the page to go to if you want to order your own BLEPHASTEAM®.
The next batch is due to go on sale at the end of 2023.