Intense Pulsed Light treatment for dry eye utilizes pulses of light to liquefy and release hardened oils that have clogged meibomian glands in the eyelids. IPL also affects vascularization and inflammation of the eyelids, reducing eyelid redness and stimulating healthy gland function. Your doctor will begin your IPL treatment by placing shields over the eyes to protect them from the light pulses. Then, a thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the treatment area and a small device is used to administer the pulses of light to the area around the eyelids. The pulses of light help heat, liquefy, and loosen oils that have clogged the eyelids’ meibomian glands. After the IPL light treatment is complete, one of our experienced eye doctors is able to manually express oil from the glands and restore normal oil flow in the tear film. Oil is a very important component of the tears and prevents the tears from evaporation, which can lead to dryness.
Although many people notice improvement in dry eye symptoms after their first or second treatment, your doctor will recommend an initial series of four IPL treatments, performed once a month over the course of four months. This initial treatment bundle is designed to help with long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye disease and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), the root cause of dry eye disease.
After the initial series of IPL treatments, most people will need only occasional maintenance treatments, depending on the severity of their dry eye condition. Your doctor may also recommend combining IPL treatments with other dry eye therapies such as LipiFlow®, punctal plugs, or medications to maximize effectiveness and enhance symptom relief.