Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment
Do you have itchy, red, sore eyes or suffer from dry eyes? Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment is an effective and pain-free treatment to treat dry eyes caused by blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). This treatment improves the quality of your tears and provides symptomatic relief for your dry eyes.
What is IPL treatment?
We first need to understand the cause of dry eyes. Up to 50% of dry eyes are caused by blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction (GD). IPL uses gentle pulses of light to treat the underlying causes of dry eye.
The pulses of light target the eyelids reducing inflammation and any associated bacterial growth in the area around your eyes. This treatment treats blepharitis and MGD and subsequently slows the progression of chronic dry eye in addition to giving you symptom relief.
If you’ve had limited relief with other dry eye treatments then IPL treatment may be the option for you.
How does IPL work?
The oil glands in the eyelid margins produce oil to moisture and protect the surface of the eye. In blepharitis, these meibomian oil glands are blocked and/or inflamed. Therefore, the glands are unable to secrete oil onto the surface of the eye resulting in dry eyes. The problem is further exacerbated in patients with facial or ocular rosacea as they have abnormally dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia) along the eyelid margins.
The light pulses in IPL help open up these block glands and liquify the oils in them. The pulses also close the abnormal vessels seen in rosacea and rejuvenate the skin cells. IPL has become a popular treatment in people with skin rosacea.
After the procedure, we will talk you through maintaining good eye hygiene. We will discuss how to perform a nightly cleaning of your eyelids. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes to prevent bacteria from spreading to your eyes. Before you leave, we will also arrange a follow-up appointment to check the progress of your eye health.
What are the side effects of the treatment?
There are no known serious complications to IPL treatment. However, you may experience some mild side effects, including:
- Swelling around the eyes
- Itching and redness of the eyes
- Lightening or darkening of the skin in the treated area
These are usually temporary, but lightening or darkening of the skin can be permanent in some people.
How successful is the procedure?
If your dry eyes are due to blepharitis or MGD, IPL has been shown to work very well in giving you symptomatic relief and treating your blepharitis. However. you must complete the course of treatment and continue with regular lid cleaning afterwards to realise the full effects of the treatment.
At Oculase, we include a minimum of three treatments with IPL. Any additional treatments required within the first six months after your initial treatment is also included. Generally, patients require one top-up treatment annually to maintain the effects.
How quickly does the treatment work?
You may notice an improvement within a few hours of your first treatment. However, one treatment is not enough to realise the full benefits. Studies have shown that at least three treatments are required (sometimes four) to give you the full effect. These treatments are spread over a period of 3-4 months.
Who should not have IPL treatment?
You should not have the procedure if you:
- have used tanning beds 4 weeks prior to treatment
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have any moles or warts around your eyes or face
- had cancer treatment around the eyes or face
- have a history of keloid scarring
- suffer from psoriasis, lupus or any other connective tissue disorder
- had metal plates, rods or screws inserted around your eyes or face.
Additionally, there is risk of skin depigmentation around the area of treatment.
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