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IPL Treatment for Dry Eye: A Safe Way to Relieve Dry Eyes

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Many people struggle with chronic dry eye and use artificial tears, limit screen time, and switch to the best contact lenses for dry eye. But if you’re looking for a longer-lasting solution, intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment may offer the sustained relief you crave.

OptiLight by Lumenis is the IPL treatment proudly offered at Precision Eye Care. If you want to target the cause of dry eye, our optometry team can help relieve uncomfortable dry eye symptoms safely and gently with IPL.

What Is Intense Pulsed Light Treatment (IPL)?

IPL works to relieve dry eye symptoms related to meibomian gland dysfunction and the oil production of the tear layer.

IPL uses gentle light pulses on the skin surrounding the eyes to reduce bacterial growth and inflammation. It gives off a mild warming effect to help break up oil and debris buildup blocking the meibomian glands. It’s non-invasive, with minimal discomfort, and OptiLight by Lumenis is the first and only FDA-approved IPL treatment for dry eyes. 

What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

The majority of dry eye cases are a result of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Otherwise known as evaporative dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction is a problem with the tear film’s top oil layer. Meibomian glands produce the oil layer of the tear film, and the glands can become congested, impeding the secretion of oil to lubricate the eye.

When there’s not enough oil in your tears, they can evaporate more quickly, leading to grittiness, burning, light sensitivity, and other dry eye symptoms. If left untreated, MGD can lead to increased inflammation and discomfort. IPL can help ease dry eye-related pain and irritation.

A woman receives IPL treatment for her dry eye symptoms

How Can IPL Treatment Relieve Dry Eye?

The application of IPL treatment can help significantly alleviate core causes of dry eye by:

  • Warming the meibomian glands, facilitating gland expression
  • Improving meibomian gland function
  • Diminishing the small blood vessels that contribute to inflammation
  • Increasing tear breakup time
  • Reducing the number of Demodex mites and bacteria

As a dry eye therapy, IPL shows high improvement rates in MGD, and patients have little to no adverse effects. Compared to standard treatments for MGD and dry eye, including eyelid scrubs or warm compresses, IPL is proven to offer longer-lasting and more effective results.

What Is the IPL Treatment Process?

The optometry team at Precision Eye Care performs OptiLight by Lumenis treatments in the comfort of our clinic. When you arrive for your treatment, you’ll have an opportunity to wash your face free of makeup, lotion, and sunscreen, and we’ll ask some questions about your eyes and skin before we begin your treatment.

  • We’ll place protective shields over your eyes and apply gel to the treatment area.
  • The IPL device will use light to liquefy the blockages in the oil glands
  • You’ll experience a warm sensation with minimal discomfort
  • After the 15-minute treatment, we may follow up with meibomian gland expression

Following your treatment, you may experience some redness or sensitivity, and it’s critical to avoid direct sun exposure for 48 hours after your appointment. The Precision Eye Care team will give post-care instructions and answer any questions.

Typically, we’ll recommend scheduling a series of treatments to achieve the best results. Depending on your unique eyes, we’ll lay out a treatment plan to ease your symptoms and prevent further gland obstructions from returning.

How Long Does IPL Take to Relieve Dry Eyes?

You may find relief after your first or second visit, but your optometrist will plan for further treatments to optimize your results. During your appointment with Precision Eye Care, our team may also recommend you use other dry eye treatments, such as eye drops, nutritional supplements, or warm compresses.

Does IPL Work for Everyone?

OptiLight by Lumenis can help alleviate and manage dry eye for many patients, but it’s not suitable for everyone. We may recommend alternative treatment if you:

  • Suffer from aqueous deficiency dry eye rather than meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Have scarring surrounding your eyes
  • Have a history of keloid scarring

Talk to our optometrist about your dry eye symptoms and ask if OptiLight by Lumenis is the best treatment for you. 

Relieve Dry Eye Disease Symptoms in Vancouver

You can find relief from dry, irritated eyes without the excessive use of artificial tears and a digital screen ban. OptiLight by Lumenis is a modern treatment to help restore the balance of your tear film and improve your quality of life.

Schedule an appointment with Precision Eye Care for an accurate diagnosis and begin an individualized treatment plan.

Written by Dr. Judy Chan

Dr. Chan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California San Diego in 1986 and her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1990 from Pacific University College of Optometry. To broaden her skills, she also completed a year of residency training, specializing in geriatrics and ocular diseases at the Veterans Hospital in Portland. After practicing in the Portland/Vancouver area for nearly 7 years, Dr. Chan purchased her first clinic in Battle Ground, Washington. She found private practice very fulfilling and promptly acquired her second office in 1999.

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