What Is the Difference Between LipiFlow® and IPL?

What Is the Difference Between LipiFlow® and IPL?

What Is the Difference Between LipiFlow® and IPL?

What Is the Difference Between LipiFlow® and IPL?

What Is the Difference Between LipiFlow® and IPL?

February 15, 2023

Dry eye can make it hard to perform daily tasks such as reading and driving. Many people suffer from dry eye, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. The condition can be caused by different issues, ranging from medical conditions to hormonal and environmental factors. Fortunately, some treatments can provide relief for dry eye. 

Understanding Dry Eye 


Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition where the eyes do not produce adequate tears to nourish the eyes. The tears produced are too few or are of poor quality. The tear film consists of water (aqueous fluid), mucus, and oil layers. The water keeps the eyes hydrated, the mucus helps spread tears evenly, and the oil prevents quick evaporation.

More than 85 percent of people with dry eye have meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). When meibomian glands become clogged, it reduces oil production for the tear film, leading to MGD. 

LipiFlow Dry Eye Treatment


LipiFlow® is a therapy designed to treat meibomian gland dysfunction. Also known as thermal pulsation, LipiFlow uses heat and massage to warm and express the glands, stimulating oil production gently.

A small eye cover warms the eyelids, while a shield-like component expresses the glands. Medicated eye drops or a mild anesthetic is administered during the treatment to ensure comfort. The treatment is safe and effective and is completed in about 12 minutes. 

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)


IPL is an in-office dry eye treatment that uses gentle pulses of light (wavelengths). The treatment can reduce inflammation around the eyes while stimulating oil production from the meibomian glands.

During the treatment, heat warms and liquefies the oil in the glands, helping it flow more freely. The therapy reduces the blockages that cause the symptoms. The procedure is quick and safe and can help improve tear breakup time in most patients. 

Difference Between LipiFlow and IPL


LipiFlow and IPL produce long-lasting results, and most patients do not experience discomfort during treatment. While IPL is not suitable for all skin types, LipiFlow is safe for all skin types. IPL requires up to four treatments, while LipiFlow needs to be repeated annually.

IPL has both ocular and aesthetic benefits and can help treat pain and discomfort. It can help reduce Demodex and bacteria. LipiFlow is only ideal for specific patients. 

Choosing the Right Treatment


Both LipiFlow and IPL have their pros and cons. The best treatment for you will depend on your condition, symptoms, and medical history. The optometrist will help you decide the right treatment for you. LipiFlow is more suitable for obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction, while IPL is usually recommended for inflammatory dry eye. Eye doctors may recommend a combination of treatments to relieve dry eye. 

Dry eye can cause various symptoms, including itchiness, burning, grittiness, redness, blurred vision, and foreign body sensation. Patients may experience excess tearing, eye tiredness, and stringy eye discharge.

Treatment can alleviate symptoms and help slow the progression of the disease. Both LipiFlow and IPL can effectively treat dry eye. People with advanced dry eye will usually require more frequent treatments.

For more on the difference of LipiFlow and IPL, call East Main Vision Clinic in Puyallup, at 253-780-0700 to discuss questions or schedule an appointment.

East Main Vision Clinic