Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment

Do you have dry eyes like so many other people? If so, you likely tried various remedies but found little relief. Fortunately, a new approach to treating this annoying illness is now readily available.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment, specifically OptiLight® by Lumenis, is the first and only FDA-approved IPL for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)—the leading cause of dry eye.

What Is IPL Treatment for Dry Eyes?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment is a noninvasive procedure that uses broad-spectrum light to address various skin and eye disorders. IPL treatment for dry eyes uses a series of intense light pulses to target the meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands produce the oily layer of tears that helps keep the eyes evenly lubricated. The treatment stimulates these glands to function better, reducing the burning, redness, foreign body sensation, watering, and fluctuating vision that poor gland function may cause.

What Conditions Can IPL Treat?

IPL treatment for dry eyes is particularly effective for those with meibomian gland dysfunction, the leading cause of dry eyes. However, it can also help treat other conditions contributing to dry eyes, such as rosacea.

Rosacea is a skin disorder that can cause dry eyes by making the face red and inflamed. IPL treatment for rosacea can reduce redness and inflammation, helping alleviate dry eyes caused by this condition.

What to Expect During IPL Treatment

Before your treatment, your doctor will apply a cooling gel to your eyelids to protect them and reduce discomfort during the procedure. Then, the doctor will use a handheld device to deliver a series of intense light pulses to your eyelids. While the treatment may cause you some discomfort, most patients find it rather pleasant.

Rarely following treatment, your eyelids may be slightly red and/or swollen. Fortunately, these side effects subside quickly if they do happen. The therapy typically requires multiple sessions, usually two to four weeks apart. The standard number of sessions is four but can vary depending on your dry eye severity.

Eye Protection During IPL Treatment

It is crucial to protect your eyes during treatment. The intense light can harm them without proper eye protection. Most optometrists recommend using metal shields instead of goggles to protect the eyes during treatment. The metal shields will protect the eyes themselves while allowing a more direct treatment applied to the meibomian glands.

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