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How Long Does IPL Last for Dry Eye?

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An optometrist uses IPL to treat a female patient's dry eye

Dry eye disease is a chronic, uncomfortable condition that affects everything from reading to making it through a workday in comfort. But new treatments are available that can bring lasting relief.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is an innovative approach to dry eye treatment. This non-invasive procedure uses pulses of light to stimulate the meibomian glands, which are essential for keeping our eyes happy and healthy.

It usually takes a series of 4 treatments to see significant results with IPL, which can last around 6 months to a year.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease occurs when our eyes don’t produce enough tears or are of poor quality. Tears are essential for keeping eyes healthy, hydrated, and comfortable. 

Symptoms of dry eye disease include: 

  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Scratchy or gritty eyes
  • Overly watery eyes
  • The feeling that something is stuck in your eye

Dry eye can lead to more serious conditions like corneal ulcers or infections if left untreated.

It can be caused by various factors, including:

What Is IPL?

IPL therapy is a non-invasive treatment for dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The meibomian glands produce oils that help keep our tears from evaporating too quickly. When these glands become clogged or damaged, it can lead to dry eye symptoms. 

IPL uses bursts of broad-spectrum light that penetrate the skin and stimulate blood flow to the area. The increased blood flow helps unclog and rejuvenate the meibomian glands, increasing oil production.

IPL therapy aims to improve tear film quality and reduce inflammation that leads to dry eye disease.

How Long Do IPL Results Last?

IPL therapy for dry eye can provide long-lasting results. However, the time between treatments may vary depending on the severity of your dry eye symptoms.

On average, patients will need 3–4 initial treatments spaced out over 1-3 weeks. Maintenance treatments may be needed every 6–12 months to sustain results. 

IPL isn’t usually a one-and-done deal. It’s part of an ongoing maintenance plan for optimal eye health.

A woman smiling and looking towards the camera

Who Benefits Most from IPL?

IPL is a versatile treatment for dry eye and is most suitable for people with MGD or rosacea.

IPL targets inflammation, the root cause of MGD. MGD occurs when the meibomian glands in the eyelids become inflamed and clogged, leading to decreased oil production and poor tear quality.

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes facial redness, bumps, and visible blood vessels. It has been linked to ocular rosacea, which can cause similar symptoms as MGD. IPL can help reduce inflammation in both the skin and eyes for those with rosacea.

What to Expect from IPL Therapy

You’ll need to remove any makeup and metal jewelry to prevent unintended reflections of light. Your practitioner will apply a protective gel around your eyes and provide dark glasses to shield you from the bright flashes.

Some people report feeling a mild pinching sensation or a little warmth during the treatment, but it’s generally well tolerated. After the treatment, you may experience mild redness, but it should go away within a day.

You may immediately notice that your eyes feel more comfortable. As inflammation subsides and glands unblock in the following days, dry eye symptoms should progressively improve

There’s no significant downtime, although you might be asked to refrain from applying makeup or visiting highly polluted areas for a short period post-treatment.

Take the Next Step for Finding Dry Eye Relief

IPL offers the potential for long-lasting relief from uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. If you’re wrestling with the daily challenges of dry eye, contact us to learn more about IPL. Our team at Danville Optometric Group has the tools and information you need to take this step in dealing with dry eyes. 

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Written by Dr. Gregory Tom

Dr. Tom is committed to providing comprehensive eye care to the people of Danville and prides himself on continuing to enhance his medical skills through education and training.

Graduating with honors in 1989, Dr. Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from UC Berkeley. He continued his education at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Physiological Optics, and again in 1994 with a Doctorate in Optometry.

More Articles By Dr. Gregory Tom

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