IPL for Dry Eye
IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, was originally developed for use in dermatology to rejuvenate aging skin. The ophthalmologist who treated his rosacea patients using IPL, however, also discovered that many of his patients who had dry eye noted improvements of their symptoms. An innovative and painless procedure, IPL has provided relief for many patients and helped improve their quality of life.
IPL is used to unblock the meibomian glands, which lie right behind the lashes of both eyelids. When clogged, these glands cause tears to evaporate too quickly, which can lead to dry eye. The IPL treatment heats the meibomian glands so that the clogged glands can be opened up. This helps improve the eye’s tear quality by reducing any evaporation that may occur.
What is the IPL Treatment Like?
Performed in our office by a medical doctor, the IPL treatment typically lasts 3-5 minutes. First, your doctor will determine your Fitzpatrick skin type in order to select the correct light settings. Eye shields are placed over the patient’s eyes to protect them from the light. Then, a layer of ultrasonic gel is applied to the treatment area to help cool the skin. Using a hand-piece, light pulses are administered from the ear, across the cheek, over the nose, and then across to the other ear. These pulses of light gently heat up the skin and open up the meibomian glands. After the gel is wiped off, the patient is taken to a slit lamp where the secretions from the glands are expressed by the doctor in order to clear any blockages. Afterwards, the patient is given eye drops to use twice a day for 3 days.
Am I A Good Candidate for IPL?
IPL is best for those with moderate to severe dry eye. It is also only used on patients with a Fitzpatrick skin type 1 thru 4 to avoid any skin color lightening. The doctor will determine this upon evaluation.
How Many Treatments are Required?
Typically, 3-4 treatments four to six weeks apart are needed to obtain the best results. To maintain results, follow up treatments are recommended once or twice a year.
Are there any Side Effects or Risks?
IPL is a safe procedure and you can immediately return to normal daily activities afterwards. During the treatment, you may experience a mild tingling sensation with each pulse of light. Some redness may occur following the IPL treatment. The treated area will be sensitive to UV light and sunscreen is applied right after the treatment.