Intense Pulse Light therapy – or IPL for short – has long been known as an effective dermatological treatment for various aesthetic issues such as eliminating signs of aging and even hair removal. However, more recently, eye doctors have discovered another use for this innovative technology – a treatment for dry eyes.
Dry eyes, or dry eye syndrome as it is often referred to, is a very common condition that affects most people at some point during their life. In many cases, it resolves without the need for treatment. However, a percentage of people go on to experience chronic or recurrent episodes that require professional intervention. We are pleased to offer our patients IPL treatment which benefits anyone with dry eye. Carried out right here at our premier eye care practice in Holly Springs, NC.
As you may have guessed, dry eye syndrome is a condition that is characterized by many symptoms, one of which is eyes that feel dry and scratchy. It occurs either when the eyes do not make enough natural lubrication (in the form of tear film), or when the tear film drains or evaporates from the eye too quickly. There are some risk factors that make someone more likely to develop dry eye syndrome. These include:
Being over the age of 50
Wearing contact lenses
Spending a lot of time using computer screens
Spending a lot of time in heated or air-conditioned environments
Working or spending time in environments that are dusty, windy or dry
Taking specific medications that have dry eyes as a side effect
Suffering from certain conditions including blepharitis, lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome
There are some lifestyle changes that you can make that will reduce your risk of developing dry eye syndrome, such as reducing your screen time, turning your AC off and cutting back on alcohol consumption or quitting smoking.
Eyes that feel dry and scratchy are the most common symptoms of the condition, but patients may also experience a range of other issues that could be indicative of dry eyes. These include:
Burning sensation in the eyes
A feeling like you have grit or something else trapped in your eye
Excessively watery eyes. This sounds ridiculous, but sometimes your eye will over-produce tear film in order to try and counteract the dryness.
Intense pulsed light treatment is very simple. It involves the delivery of a series of rapid light pulses, all carried out in a very specific pattern, in order to stimulate the glands that play a key role in eye lubrication. There are between 25 and 40 meibomian glands in the upper eyelid, and between 20 and 30 in the lower eyelid. Their purpose is to secrete oils onto the surface of the eye in order to prevent tear film from evaporating too quickly. If the meibomian glands become blocked or aren’t working correctly, there isn’t enough oil passed onto the eyeball and this leads to dry eye.
IPL treatment usually takes place over several sessions. You may notice a distinct improvement in your vision straight away, but this will also continue to improve as the meibomian glands become increasingly more effective. The procedure itself is completely painless. The skin around the eye is cleaned before goggles are placed over your eyes to protect them from damage that could otherwise be caused by the light. A clear gel is placed onto the skin and the device is administered. Each session is very short, and you will be able to return to your usual activities immediately following your treatment.
If you are suffering from dry eyes and would like to learn more about IPL therapy to alleviate your symptoms, please contact our office in Holly Springs, NC where our team would be happy to explain the solution in more detail or schedule you an appointment.