Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy, which has been traditionally used as a cosmetic procedure for treating facial skin conditions, effectively treats chronic dry eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). In fact, IPL Therapy is among the more groundbreaking treatments for dry eye.
What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction? (MGD)
Your meibomian glands control the lipids in the eye, called meibum, which combine with other substances in the eye area (oil, mucus, and water) to create a thin film that consistently lubricates your eyes. Meibum is an essential part of your eye’s makeup, as it prevents the evaporation of the eye’s tear film.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction occurs when the meibomian glands fail to provide enough meibum. This can be triggered by various factors and causes the tear film to evaporate at a quicker rate, leading the eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable. In fact, eighty percent of dry eye cases are due to MGD.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction manifests differently and to varying degrees of severity in different people. Some may need mild treatment while others may require more intense care. Dr. Heather Shear O.D. will determine the right choice for your condition to get you the best possible results.
How Does IPL Treatment Work?
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy is a painless method that delivers pulses of light to liquefy and release oils that have hardened and clogged the meibomian glands in the eyelids. IPL also reduces eyelid redness and stimulates healthy gland function.Dr. Heather Shear O.D. will begin your IPL treatment by placing shields over your eyes to protect them from the light pulses. Following that, a thin layer of cooling gel will be applied to the treatment area and a small device will administer the pulses of light to the region around the eyelids. The pulses of light heat the skin around the eye and dislodge the oil buildup.
After administering IPL, Dr. Heather Shear O.D. will express oil from the glands, which will restore normal oil flow in the tear film. Though patients usually notice improvement in dry eye symptoms following their first or second treatment, it is generally recommended they undergo an initial series of four IPL treatments, performed monthly over a period of four months. This ensures long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye syndrome and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Depending on the severity of their dry eye condition, certain patients may require occasional maintenance treatments following the initial series of IPL treatments. It is not unusual to combine IPL treatments with other dry eye therapies in order to optimize effectiveness and promote healing.
How Is IPL Different From Other Dry Eye Treatments?
Many of the treatments for dry eye syndrome, such as eye drops, artificial tears, hot compresses, and eyelid scrubs, are meant to temporarily relieve symptoms instead of treating the root cause of the condition. IPL is unique in that it targets 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 for your dry eye, and still struggle with dry eye, we can help. Contact Northwestern Eye Associates Dry Eye Center to schedule your dry eye evaluation today!
The Northwestern Eye Associates Dry Eye Center serves patients from in and around Mt. Dennis, Toronto, York, and Rockcliffe Smythe and throughout ON.