In the battle against dry eye, Carolina Eye Doctors just secured the ultimate weapon- IPL.
IPL stands for Intense-Pulsed Light. IPL has traditionally been used by dermatologists for vascular skin lesions that occur in conditions such as rosacea. Interestingly dermatologists, while treating rosacea patients, discovered an improvement in their patient’s dry eye symptoms. And we eye doctors took note!
IPL is a non-ablative, high-output flash of light [it is not a laser] that induces coagulation of superficial blood vessels, reducing inflammation and alleviating the leading cause of dry eye – meibomian gland dysfunction. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is the cause of 87% of dry eye disease. For more on meibomian glands see our previous blog Dr. Garcia talks about managing our friend the Meibomian Gland . Meibomian glands secrete the oil of the tears and without it, tears break up quickly leaving patients with dryness, burning, irritation and blurred vision.
In the past, as in just a few years ago, we knew MGD was a major cause of dry eye, but we had limited ability to treat it (think warm compresses and artificial tears). Now we have much more effective therapies in IPL and TearCare. These treatments target the key factors driving meibomian gland dysfunction. IPL not only unclogs obstructed glands but revitalizes and enhances the glands structure, restoring and keeping them fully functional. If MGD is left unchecked, it usually isn’t pretty. There will be an ultimate demise and dropout of the gland and irreversible lifelong dry eye symptoms.
While IPL is very safe, not everybody is suitable for IPL. Certain skin types may not be able to undergo the procedure but luckily, we have other treatments available such as TearCare. We’ll evaluate skin types and dry eye symptoms with a specialized questionnaire to see if IPL is right for you. We are fortunate to be among the first in the country to offer the new Lumenis OptiLight. It is the only IPL that is FDA-approved for the treatment of dry eye disease. If you have eye dryness, we want to help you. We can no doubt make your life better. If you have any questions, please contact us via phone, email or text!