Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

​​​​​​​What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?

Lumenis Optima® IPL- FDA approved to treat dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction or ocular rosacea. Dr. Jason Besecker is the first and only provider in the state of Idaho to offer this revolutionary treatment.

​​​​​​​Intense pulsed light is a revolutionary treatment for dry eye disease which works by decreasing inflammation along the eyelids, which is the root cause of around 90% of dry eye. IPL is a new treatment for dry eye, although the technology has been used in the cosmetic industry since 1995 for hair removal, photo-rejuvenation, and to treat various dermatological conditions. IPL uses a broad spectrum light source and interchangeable cut off filters to select for wavelengths of light that target specific structures. The targeted structures absorb the light and are heated up to destruction. In the case of dry eye small vessels along the eyelids “telangiectatic vessels” are targeted for destruction. These telangiectatic vessels bring inflammatory mediators to the eyelids which is thought to be one of the root causes of dry eye.

Eliminating telangiectatic vessels from the eyelid margins decreases inflammatory mediators that affect the quality and quantity of tears being produced. The result of IPL is decreased inflammation along the eyelids and increased quality of tears being produced. Unlike many other dry eye treatments, IPL offers long lasting results as it addresses inflammation, which is thought to be the root cause of dry eye.

IPL Procedure for Dry Eye

Initially 3-5 sessions of IPL will be required about 4-6 weeks apart to treat dry eye. Each session of IPL takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Often after an IPL treatment meibomian gland expression will be performed to further improve the efficacy of the treatment for dry eye.

IPL Protocol

  • Arrive for procedure without any eye make up or skin care products on the face

  • Numbing drops are instilled in the eyes and corneal shields are placed to protect the eyes

  • A conductive gel is applied to the area that will be treated

  • One full pass of IPL will be performed with overlapping flashes from ear to ear

  • More conductive gel is applied

  • Perform another full pass of IPL with overlapping flashes from ear to ear

  • Remove conductive gel

  • Remove corneal shields

  • Express meibomian glands

Side Effects of IPL for Dry Eye

It is possible to have some adverse side effects from IPL, although most are typically minor and temporary. Possible adverse reactions after IPL for dry eye include:

  • Redness

  • Discomfort

  • Lightening of skin

  • Tingling sensation

Contraindications of IPL for Dry Eye (non-inclusive list)

  • Pregnancy/Nursing

  • Epilepsy

  • Lupus

  • Darker skin individuals (Fitzpatrick scale 4 or higher)

  • History of Keloid scarring

  • Dysplastic nevi

  • Recent sunburn/suntan or artificial tanning within the last 30 days

  • Active infections

  • Open lacerations

  • Hypopigmentation

  • Skin cancer

  • Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema

  • Active herpes infection

  • Use of peels, retinoids, or skin resurfacing treatments within the last 30 days

  • Certain medications that can cause photosensitivity

  • Accutane

  • Doxycycline

  • St. John’s Wort

IPL for Dry Eye Aftercare

  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure for 6 weeks after treatment

  • Apply sunscreen daily with SPF 30 or higher to treated area

  • Do not expose area to UV light for 6 weeks after treatment (ie no tanning beds)

  • Moisturize treated area twice daily

  • Do not scratch or pick at blemishes on treated area

  • Do not apply makeup until all redness has subsided

  • Don’t take hot shower or bath for 48 hours after treatment

  • No hot tub, sauna, hot yoga ect. until redness has subsided

Who Should Consider IPL Treatment for Dry Eye

  • Patients with meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Patients with demodex

  • If you are using artificial tears more than 2 times per day

  • Patients using Xiidra or Restasis

  • If artificial tears only bring temporary relief

  • Patients frustrated with dry, scratchy, itchy, irritated eyes despite multiple treatments

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