November 22, 2022
Tears help keep the eyes healthy and lubricated. Failing to produce adequate tears or producing poor-quality tears can lead to dry eyes. Problems with tear balance can lead to a condition known as dry eye syndrome.
Symptoms of the disease include eye redness, burning sensation, itchiness, and a sensation of something in the eye. There are several different treatments and remedies that can help relieve dry eye, we will review one of our top recommendations here, IPL.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian glands are found along the eyelids' edges at the lash base. The glands secrete meibum or oil that is vital for coating the eyes and tear film. The oil helps prevent quick evaporation of the tears, keeping the eyes moisturized longer.
Blockage of the meibomian glands causes meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) when oil fails to flow freely to the tear film, affecting tear quality. Chronic MGD can cause permanent tear film damage, leading to dry eye syndrome.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy
Patients with dry eye syndrome can benefit from intense pulsed light therapy. IPL therapy involves using gentle pulses of light that target the condition's underlying cause. The painless procedure is applied to the skin around the eyes.
It helps reduce inflammation and any bacteria buildup in the meibomian glands. The light breaks up accumulated oil and debris that block the glands producing the oil that makes up the tears.
IPL and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Most people who experience chronic dry eye suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction. The dysfunction occurs due to inflammation and results in poor-quality tear film. The condition continues to worsen without treatment as the compromised tear film causes severe inflammation.
There are several treatments for MGD, with IPL being one of the most effective options. Unclogging and stimulating the glands helps stabilize the tear film. Repeated therapy sessions are required to alleviate the symptoms.
IPL Therapy Procedure
IPL therapy is conducted at East Main Vision Clinic. Your eye doctor, Dr. Day, uses a handheld device to perform the procedure. Before beginning the treatment, protective glasses or goggles are placed over the eyes.
A cooling gel is applied over the treatment area before placing the IPL tool over the eyes. The light from the device helps melt the substances causing the blockage. After opening the meibomian glands, the doctor may express some oil, stimulating the natural production of oil.
Effectiveness of IPL Treatment
Research shows that IPL therapy is an effective treatment for dry eye caused by MGD. It produces longer-lasting results than remedies such as artificial tears, eyelid scrubs, and warm compresses. The outpatient procedure helps relieve symptoms and improve eye function.
Most patients experience an improvement in symptoms after the first or second session. For best results, most eye doctors recommend four therapy sessions conducted once a month. For severe symptoms, your eye doctor may recommend additional sessions.
IPL is a safe and effective treatment for dry eye. Results vary depending on the individual. In most cases, patients need to return for additional treatments in nine to 12 months. The therapy can be used alongside other options like artificial tears, medication, and gland expression.
For more on what dry eye symptoms are alleviated with IPL, call East Main Vision Clinic in Puyallup, Washington at (253) 780-0700 today.