What Is IPL Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome?

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A woman wearing a haircut and protective glasses undergoes IPL on the area below her eyes.

What Is IPL Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome?

If you are dealing with dry eye syndrome, your eyes may be irritated and itchy, or you may have a gritty feeling in your eyes. Professional methods, apart from at-home treatments, such as IPL (intense pulsed light), can provide relief from dry eye syndrome. 

More than 6 million Canadians are estimated to have dry eye syndrome. You may assume that your dry eyes are because of environmental factors or irritants, but the best way to identify the cause of dry eye syndrome is with a comprehensive eye exam

Let’s take a closer look at IPL for treating dry eye syndrome. 

Dry Eye Syndrome

You may be dealing with dry eye syndrome if you experience excessive tearing, burning, stinging, itchiness, and redness in your eyes. There are many causes of dry eye syndrome, including: 

  • Aging: Age is a significant risk factor after 50
  • Certain medications: Antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
  • Health conditions: Arthritis, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Environmental elements: Wind, smoke, and dry air
  • Infrequent blinking: Long hours spent in front of a computer screen

But two main reasons are lack of tear production and an imbalance with your natural tear film composition. 

What is IPL?

Dermatologists have been using IPL for the treatment of rosacea for many years. What studies have found was that it significantly improved dry eye symptoms. 

IPL uses gentle pulses of light on the skin around the eyes. It reduces inflammation and bacterial growth and breaks up oil buildup that blocks the meibomian glands. 

Meibomian glands secrete oil that prevents tears from evaporating. The oil with water and mucous are 3 layers of the tear film. Changes in the amount and quality of oil and clogged gland openings can cause dry eye syndrome. 

IPL reduces bacterial growth and inflammation, shrinks inflamed blood vessels, unclogs the gland to stimulate lubrication, and warms the oil expressed in the eyes showing longer-lasting relief of dry eyes. 

IPL Procedure

Before going ahead with IPL, your optometrist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam, determine the cause of your dry eye, and discuss the best possible treatment based on the severity of your dry eye. IPL is a non-invasive procedure performed in the optometrist’s office:

  • Protective eyewear shields the eyes.
  • A cooling and conductive gel go over the area where IPL will be applied.
  • Your eye doctor will then use an IPL device to emit the light, which melts any buildup blocking the meibomian oil glands.
  • Your eye doctor may express the gland to stimulate oil production. 
A woman undergoes IPL on her forehead.

Who Is a Candidate for IPL Treatment?

Anyone suffering from dry eye syndrome may be a candidate for this procedure. Speak to your optometrist about which treatment plan or therapy method will work best to relieve your symptoms of dry eye syndrome. 

Benefits of IPL Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

By decreasing inflammation and preventing the loss of moisture from the eyes, there are additional benefits of IPL treatment:

  • Increase in eye comfort
  • Better and clearer vision
  • Minimal downtime after IPL
  • Treats the root cause, not just the symptoms of dry eye

At-Home Treatments

There are many ways to reduce your symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These can include:

  • Prescription eye drops
  • Artificial tears, if need be
  • Warm compresses
  • Dietary changes or supplements
  • Eyelid cleaners or scrubs
  • Blinking exercises
  • Punctal plugs

You can use artificial tears every day. However, this is only a temporary fix, and dry eye symptoms may return after you stop using them. 

Another option is to use a long-term steroid drop for your eyes, which helps reduce inflammation but may increase the risk of infection or glaucoma. Professional therapies like IPL treatment for dry eye syndrome with other treatment methods can aid in dry eye relief and retain moisture. 

Help for Dry Eye Syndrome

Compared to treatment methods that only help relieve symptoms, the IPL procedure treats the underlying cause of dry eye syndrome. It’s safe to use as long as your eyes are protected from the light and may need more than one session for effective results.
If you want to learn more about dry eye therapies and lasting relief of dry eye symptoms, book an appointment with Cowichan Eyecare. We offer a combination of treatment methods, whatever the cause of your dry eye syndrome.

Written by Cowichan

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