Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light therapy is a painless and effective method that delivers pulses of light to liquefy and release oils that have hardened and clogged the meibomian glands in the eyelids. IPL reduces eyelid redness and stimulates healthy gland function. The pulses of light are absorbed by the blood vessels in the skin generating a heat source that melts the secretions and opens the glands.
Your Doctor will express oil from the glands after your second IPL treatment to help restore normal oil flow from the glands and into the tear film. Though patients usually notice the improvement in dry eye symptoms following their second treatment, it is generally recommended they undergo an initial series of four IPL treatments, performed regularly over a period of three to four months. This ensures long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye syndrome and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Depending on the severity of the condition, certain patients may require periodic maintenance treatments following the initial series. It is common to combine IPL treatments with other dry eye therapies in order to optimize effectiveness and promote healing.
The combination of IPL treatment and Meibomian gland expression has been showed to significantly improve symptoms in 89% of patients.
Mechanisms of action include:
- Heating the Meibomian glands and liquefying the meibum
- Decreasing the bacterial and parasite load on the eyelids
- Interfering with the inflammatory cycle
- Thrombosis of abnormal blood vessels below the skin surrounding the eyes
- Activation of fibroblasts and enhancing the synthesis of new collagen fibers
- Reducing the turnover of skin epithelial cells thereby decreasing the risk of obstruction Meibomian glands
IPL Side Effects (typically minor and temporary):
- Redness on treated skin area
- Mild mucous discharge
- Slight inflammation (likely from expression)
- Lightening of the skin for dark skinned or tanned individuals
How to prepare patients for IPL Treatments
- Avoid too much sun exposure
- Do not expose your skin to UV light and artificial tanning products before and in between treatments (no sprays, lotions, gels…)
- Don’t use exfoliating or peeling products the week prior to treatment
- Avoid swimming in heavily chlorinated water
- Avoid intake of ibuprofen, or aspirin the week of treatment
- Remove all makeup and skin products the day of treatments
- Keep the treatment area clean and dry
- Avoid excessive sun exposure to reduce risk of dark and light spots
- Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
- Do not expose treated area to UV light
- Do not pick on the treated area
- Avoid hot baths, saunas for a week after treatment
- Use skin moisturizer