IPL for Dry Eye
What is IPL Treatment for Dry Eye?
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy, a common treatment used to address rosacea, sun damage, and acne scarring of the skin, is now available to address chronic Dry Eye Disease and it’s main cause: Meibomian Gland Dysfunction of the eyelids. IPL Therapy for dry eye has revolutionized treatment of this chronic conditions that affects millions of people. New York Laser Vision is one of a few eye clinics in New York offering this safe and effective approach to Dry Eye Disease.
How Does Intense Pulsed Light Treatment Work?
Intense Pulsed Light treatment for dry eye utilizes pulses of light to treat eyelids. Eyelids produce tears and release them onto the surface of our eyes. Eyelid inflammation called Blepharitis or Meimobian Gland Dysfunction is extremely common. It’s causes are multiple and include aging, cosmetics use, hormonal conditions, allergies among others. Here are a few ways that Intense Pulsed Light treatment improves the appearance of eyelids, treats meimobian glands and reverses Dry Eye Disease:
- IPL uses light to liquefy hardened oils that have clogged meibomian glands in the eyelids. As a result these oils are released back onto the eye into the tear film where there are needed.
- IPL also treats blood vessels on the eyelids that cause them to appear red and inflamed. These extra blood vessels carry inflammatory factors into our eyelids and eyes and once they are no longer there inflammation is significantly reduced.
- By heating the eyelid tissues Intense Pulsed Light treatment also treats bacteria and parasites that frequently live on and around eyelashes and cause inflammation and itching. Once the microbes are gone the eyelids feel and function better!
Who Can Benefit from IPL Treatment?
At New York Laser Vision Accredited Dry Eye Center of Excellence, we have a large number of patients with chronic Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). Large number of them have come from other eye doctors in the area after failing the conventional treatment of artificial tear drops, Restasis or Xiidra drops and steroids. Practically all of those patients have meimobian gland dysfunction that has caused their chronic dry eye problem. In order to successfully treat dryness we need to first improve the condition of the eyelids that caused the problem to begin with!
Therefore, we recommend IPL treatment to any patient with Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) and concurrent Dry Eye Disease. Using multiple dry eye treatment drops and ointments for years has potential for side effects and is often difficult for most of our patients. Moreover, since the root of the problem (eyelid inflammation) is not addressed, many don’t feel any improvement in their dry eye after years of using all those drops for years. At home massages and warm compresses are somewhat helpful for eyelid inflammation. But lets face it: who in NYC has time for that? IPL treatment became our answer to this!
What Should I Expect During IPL Treatment?
- We begin the treatment by placing eye shields over your eyes to protect them
- A cooling gel is applied to your skin
- A small device is used to administer the pulses of light to the area around the eyelids
- The entire treatment takes about 15 minutes
- One of our experienced eye doctors is then able to manually express oil from the glands and restore normal oil flow in the tear film
- There maybe only mild discomfort during the procedure and most of our patients tolerate it quiet well
- We recommend 4 treatments 4-5 weeks apart (most patients start feeling less dryness after 2 treatments but 4 treatments are needed to ensure long term results)
- Drops are prescribed to use for a few days after the treatment
Is IPL Treatment Safe?
Intense Pulsed Light treatment is safe, effective and has been FDA approved to treat skin conditions for around 20 years. While it’s benefit for Dry Eye Syndrome treatment has been discovered recently and accidentally, the treatment still enjoys the same safety profile.
What Should I Expect After IPL Treatment?
After the first few treatments you may start noticing that your eyelids are looking less red and inflamed, eyes are less itchy and you are not reaching for that artificial tear bottle as often. That “sandy” foreign body feeling that accompanies dry eye disease is starting to dissipate. You might become less light sensitive and computer work or reading don’t tire out your eyes as much. That glare from the computer screen and traffic lights might also bother you less now. All of this because the natural oils produced by your eyelids are back where the belong – your tears!