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IPL for Dry Eye

Intense Pulsed Laser (IPL) Therapy for Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye disease (DED) is a condition that is commonly caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is the major cause of evaporative dry eye disease, which is the most prevalent form of dry eye disease. Intense pulsed laser therapy is used to treat MGD.

What are meibomian glands and what do they do?

The meibomian glands are located in the eyelids and produce an oily substance that helps to lubricate the surface of the eye and prevent tear evaporation. In people with MGD, these glands become blocked or inflamed, leading to decreased production of the oily substance, thickening of the oily secretions, and increased evaporation of tears.

Physical therapies such as warm compresses, good eyelid hygiene, eyelid massage and meibomian gland expression are useful to unclog the glands and improve meibomian gland secretions. However, poor compliance limits their usefulness in treating DED.

What is IPL Therapy and how does it work to treat DED?

IPL therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses high-intensity pulses of light to heat and liquefy the oily substance in the meibomian glands, allowing it to flow more freely and improve the quality of the tears. IPL also decreases inflammation around the glands and treats inflamed blood vessels in the eyelids called telangiectasia. IPL is safe and effective to treat MGD and relieve the symptoms of DED.

How many treatments will be necessary?

A series of IPL treatments is typically necessary to see significant improvements in dry eye symptoms and meibomian gland function. The exact number of treatments needed can vary depending on the severity of the patient’s dry eye disease and the individual response to treatment.

Most studies on IPL for dry eye disease have used a series of four to six treatments, typically spaced two to four weeks apart. After the initial series of treatments, maintenance treatments may be recommended every six to twelve months to help sustain the improvements achieved.

Are there side effects from IPL therapy for DED?

As with any medical procedures there are potential side effects. Side effects noted after IPL treatment are generally mild and temporary and may include redness, swelling, eye discharge, and a tingling sensation. There are no reported serious side effects.

It is important to note that IPL therapy should only be performed by a qualified healthcare professional and after a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of dry eye symptoms. People with a history of eye conditions or infections may not be suitable candidates for IPL therapy.

Your Coastal Skin and Eye Institute professional will discuss potential risks and benefits with you before recommending IPL therapy for your dry eye condition.

Contact Coastal Skin and Eye to schedule a consultation to evaluate your eyes for dry eye disease and all your treatment options including IPL. With offices in Carmel Valley, Encinitas, and La Mesa, we provide expert eye care near you.