What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common condition that occurs when not enough tears are produced to keep our eyes lubricated. Tears contain oil, water, and mucus which keep our eyes healthy and nourished. If any problem occurs with these three essential components, an imbalance in the tear film is created and tear production is affected, causing DES.
Most cases of DES are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The meibomian glands are the glands that line the upper and lower eyelids at the base of the eyelashes and coat our eyes with an oil (meibum) that prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. When the meibomian glands become blocked with thick secretions, oil is prevented from freely flowing into the tear film and can create a chronic problem that leads to DES.
Periocular inflammatory conditions such as Rosacea and eyelid telangiectasia caused by vascular abnormalities can also result in MGD and produce symptoms such as redness, swelling, and irritation. Rosacea patients also have an increased amount of Demodex, mites that burrow deep into the meibomian glands and feed on the oil secretions. This can cause obstruction of the oil glands and result in MGD.
IPL Treatment for Dry Eye
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as rosacea, sun damage, and acne. Essential Aesthetics is one of the first clinics in the Bay Area to use this groundbreaking technology to address chronic MGD.
IPL uses pulses of light to liquefy and release the hardened oils that have clogged the meibomian glands in the eyelids. This allows the glands to readily release the oil into the tear film, protecting the tears from evaporating or drying out as quickly.
Our IPL device also addresses inflammation by selectively absorbing abnormal blood vessels, and destroying them. This removes a major source of inflammation to improve symptoms such as redness and itching. IPL also helps reduce the amount of Demodex mites, creating direct relief of MGD.
What To Expect
Before beginning the IPL treatment, a topical numbing cream may be applied for 10-15 minutes to help with any discomfort. Our certified laser expert, Dr. Ellie Zarnegar, DMSc, PA, will cleanse the treatment area, cover your eyelids with eye shields, and apply a cooling gel to the skin. She will then glide the device along your skin while it emits light pulses.
After treatment, you may experience some discomfort, redness, tingling, mild mucus discharge, and slight inflammation. These are normal side effects and will resolve within a few hours to a few days.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Patients begin to notice relief from the dry eye within 1 to 2 IPL treatments. However, for optimal results, you may need 3 to 4 treatments spaced out 3 to 4 weeks apart. After completing your treatment plan, we recommend maintenance sessions twice a year for long-term results.