Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy is among the more groundbreaking treatments for dry eye and styes. This in-office treatment uses specific wavelengths of light to reduce inflammation around the eyes, enabling oil-producing meibomian glands to better lubricate the eyes and significantly reduce unpleasant dry eye symptoms.
How Does IPL Treatment Work?
The primary cause of dry eye syndrome is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which occurs when the oil-producing meibomian glands are clogged up and unable to produce a healthy tear film. The oil is crucial as it stops your tear film from evaporating too rapidly.
During the IPL procedure, the heat emanating from the light helps liquify and release oils that have hardened and clogged the meibomian glands in the eyelids, thus reducing blockages that cause dry eye symptoms and improving the quality of your tears.
We start your IPL treatment by placing shields over your eyes to protect them from the light pulses. Following that, a thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the treatment area and a small device administers the pulses of light to the region around the eyelids, which then dislodge oil buildup.
After administering IPL, Dr. Selena Chan will express oil from the glands, which will restore normal oil flow in the tear film. Though patients usually notice an improvement in dry eye symptoms following their first or second treatment, it is generally recommended they undergo monthly IPL treatments over a period of 4 months. This ensures long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye syndrome and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
After IPL Treatment
While certain patients notice immediate improvements in their dry eye symptoms, it generally takes a series of treatments to experience drastic change.
Following the treatment, you may experience blurred vision for several days. There is no reason for concern, as it indicates that your meibomian glands are expressing more oil than your eyes are accustomed to. Aside from this, no downtime is required and you should be able to return to your daily activities right after the treatment.
How Is IPL Different From Other Dry Eye Treatments?
Standard dry eye treatments, such as eye drops, artificial tears, hot compresses, and eyelid scrubs, aim to temporarily relieve symptoms instead of treating the root cause of the condition. IPL is unique in that they each target the source – the blood vessels surrounding the glands — enabling them to secrete oils naturally and resume their moisturizing function. This not only relieves symptoms but also slows the progression of chronic dry eye.
If you have tried various treatments and still struggle with unpleasant dry eye symptoms, we can help. Contact The Dry Eye Center at Pacific Rims Optometry today.Our practice serves patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Mateo, California and surrounding communities.