Intense Pulsed Light for Treating Dry Eye

Those who experience dry eye produce an abnormal meibum, occasionaly with inflammation and bacteria which can worsen their dry eye symptoms. Some treatments such as anti-inflammatory drops, warm compresses, and lid expression has been somehwhat effective, but intense pulsed light (IPL) seems to be the best up-and-coming option.


IPL has been used in dermatology practices as a rosacea treatment for years, but “is a relatively new treatment for MGD and evaporative dry eye,” Dr. Vora said. Gargi K. Vora, MD conducted a retrospective chart review of 100 patients with a diagnosis of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and dry eye syndrome that underwent IPL therapy from September 2012 to August 2014 at two outpatient eye centers. 


Treatment for Dry Eye didn’t begin there though, as Rolando Toyos, MD, is credited as far back as 2002 with discovering the potential use of IPL in ocular indications. Some studies by Toyos et al. have hyptothesized that IPL treatment near the lid would cause the abnormal blood vessels to close and noted the effect seemed to be positive on patients with MGD.


These studies used the DermaMed Solutions Quadra 4 IPL with its proprietary dry eye mode, and used Fitzpatrick scale to determine the energy parameters, with a xenon flashlight in a band between 400 and 1,300 nm.


Other studies have been shown that treatments with IPL thin the meibomian secretions, with a significant decrease in scoring of lid edema, facial telangiectasia, lid vascularity, meibiomian gland severity score, OSDI score, oil flow, and TBUT.



“We don’t know the exact mechanism of action of the IPL on MGD or dry eye, but we do believe the localized thermal effect causes melting of meibum and a reduction of bacterial/parasitic growth,” Dr. Vora said.


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