Intense Pulsed Light
What Is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Dry Eye Treatment?
Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, is a dry eye treatment that addresses the root cause of most dry eye issues, Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Originally developed as a dermatological treatment, IPL uses short, powerful bursts of light in specific therapeutic wavelengths to heat the skin around the Meibomian glands. This heating opens the glands by melting any obstructions, thus leading to increased oil production that is essential to forming healthy tears.
How Does IPL Work?
The first thing your doctor will do is place shields over your eyes to protect them from the intense light. Then a thin layer of gel — similar to that used with ultrasound procedures — will be applied to the treatment area. Using a handheld device, your doctor will begin administering the light pulses. When the IPL treatment is finished, your doctor will manually express the oil from your Meibomian glands to start the oil flow.
Treatments are performed once a month over four months. While many patients begin to experience relief after just one treatment, the full course of treatments is necessary to obtain optimal, long-term benefits. After the initial procedures, most patients will only require maintenance treatments every six months to a year, depending on the severity of their condition.
What Are the Benefits of IPL?
IPL treatment allows the Meibomian glands to begin to function normally and add the critical oil layer to your tears. Tears that contain an oil layer evaporate more slowly and keep the eye healthier and more comfortable. As dry eye symptoms diminish, visual clarity can also improve. In addition, IPL reduces inflammation and redness of the eyelid that often accompanies MGD.
What Is the Recovery Time After IPL?
You can return to regular activities immediately following IPL, although we recommend you stay out of the sun for one week and continue dry eye therapy as directed between each treatment.
Is IPL Covered by Insurance?
IPL is an out-of-pocket expense not covered by Medicare or other insurance plans. Payment options are available.