June 23, 2023
Dry eye describes several ocular conditions that cause:
It can be due to several factors, including reduced tear production, rapid tear evaporation, and corneal exposure. Understanding the root cause is key to developing an effective treatment plan. Treatment options include artificial tears, prescription drops, and in-office procedures like IPL.
Dealing With Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye is a condition where tears do not provide adequate lubrication. Tears may be inadequate or unstable due to various reasons. Failure to produce enough tears or production of poor-quality tears can lead to dry eye disease. Tear instability can cause inflammation or eye surface damage.
The condition feels uncomfortable, and the eyes often burn or sting. The symptoms usually occur in certain environments, such as in air-conditioned rooms or airplanes. They also occur after computer use or after spending time outdoors in windy environments.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
A blockage or problem with the meibomian glands is the most common cause of dry eye. Meibomian gland disorder (MGD) occurs when the glands fail to produce enough oil for healthy tears. Diagnosing the cause is essential for creating ways to improve tear function and relieve dry eye symptoms. One of the most effective treatments uses a thermal pulsation device that heats the eyelids and clears out the meibomian glands.
Meibomian Gland Expression
Regular meibomian gland expression can help unblock the glands. Eye doctors and dry eye specialists apply gentle heat on the eyelids before performing the expression. It helps soften the meibum and open the gland openings.
They gently squeeze each gland, expressing the blockage material. The expression also helps increase the production of quality oil. Some people need a single session, but others need regular sessions for long-term results. The process is not painful.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment
IPL is an advanced treatment that relieves symptoms of dry eye and MGD. Dermatologists have been using the treatment in the last two decades to treat skin conditions such as rosacea and age spots. Patients reporting improvements in their dry eye condition during skin treatment caught the attention of researchers.
IPL has proven to be an effective treatment for dry eye. The in-office treatment is painless and has no downtime. It often works alongside LipiFlow® for long-term results.
IPL and Other Treatment Options
In conjunction with other treatments, IPL provides relief for evaporative dry eye. Combined with LipiFlow or iLux®, the treatment provides long-term control of symptoms. A combination of IPL and low-level light therapy helps treat MGD, producing positive results over four weeks.
IPL Therapy is available monthly, with patients experiencing improved ocular surface and reduced MGD symptoms. Combined treatments help to improve the patient's quality of life.
The success of dry eye treatments depends on the severity of the condition. Some enjoy traditional treatments such as eye drops, while others require advanced treatment.
For more on whether IPL dry eye treatment can be performed with other treatments, call East Main Vision Clinic in Puyallup, Washington at (253) 780-0700 to schedule an appointment today.