IPL Dry Eye Treatment

Dr. O’Rourke and her staff at Essence Laser & Wellness have been performing IPL for Dry Eyes for more than 10 years and are among the most experienced in IPL for Dry Eyes in the country. Board Certified in Ophthalmology, Dr O’Rourke worked with Research and Development on the early protocols for IPL for Dry Eyes and she and her staff have mastered the protocol using the most sophisticated technology to fine tune treatments depending on individual patient endpoints.

Essence Laser & Wellness has a unique expertise in treating Dry Eyes with IPL. Dr. O’Rourke and her staff have been treating skin conditions with IPL since 2008 and have extensive experience with IPL. She was the first ophthalmologist to treat dry eyes with IPL in Colorado, and being one of the most experienced centers in the country, receives referrals from all over the United States for patients who have failed standard therapy for dry eyes.

We are now happy to be pioneers in yet another revolutionary treatment for Dry Eyes, the PReye® Drop, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Eye Drops, PReye® Shot, and PReye® Lash, available only at Essence.

IPL is for patients with dry eye, blepharitis, ocular rosacea, or meibomian gland dysfunction. It is a light therapy, which targets the Meibomian Glands (MBG) at the eyelid margin. The MBG are responsible for producing the oily layer of the tear film, which protects the aqueous layer from evaporation.

IPL improves MBG function by producing heat and clearing the MBG, and by coagulating the blood vessels near the MBG that release inflammatory components into the eye.

By improving the MBG function, there is less inflammation and less evaporation of the tear film, a common issue in our dry Colorado environment, resulting in more comfortable eyes.

How does IPL work?

IPL helps to improve the health of the meibomian glands, which produce the oil that prevents evaporation of the tear film. When this oily layer is unhealthy, the tears evaporate too fast, leading to blurry vision, burning of the eyes, discomfort, and redness in many patients. IPL improves MBG function by producing heat and clearing the MBG, and by coagulating the blood vessels near the MBG that release inflammatory components into the eye. The end result is more comfortable eyes.

Is this a laser?

IPL is not a laser, but is light therapy over a broad range of wavelengths, whereas laser is a single wavelength of light. A filter is used to select the range of wavelengths that is best for this treatment to warm the skin and close the abnormal blood vessels associated with rosacea and blepharitis.   IPL is FDA approved for the treatment of rosacea, and has been used for many years to treat hair removal and sun spots.

What to expect with the IPL treatment

A topical anesthetic ointment is applied around the eye area for 15 minutes to ensure the
treatment is as comfortable as possible. Protective ocular shields is placed in the eye to protect
from the bright light pulses. A thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the skin, and a handpiece
attached to the light system is used to deliver the light to the upper face. As the pulse of light is administered, there is a tingling or snapping sensation that most patients tolerate quite well.
Roughly 30 pulses will be administered around the eyes, under, on the lid and above the brow.
After the IPL treatment your meibomian glands will be gently expressed to help stimulate normal
oil flow.

The area treated may be slightly flushed and red for a short time after the treatment. It is
recommended to start with a series of 3 treatments, spaced one month apart for optimal results.
Maintenance is also recommended to continue healthy meibomian gland function.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients have significant improvement with one or two treatments. Typically 4-5 treatments are given one month apart. After that maintenance treatments are given one to 2 times per year, depending on the severity of the condition.

How many treatments will I need?

After the treatment you may return to normal activities. The use of sunblock is recommended on the treated areas, as well as sunglasses.

How many treatments will I need?

After the initial treatment, most patients report improvement in their symptoms. Studies have shown an objective increase in tear function after each treatment, with the maximum improvement happening after the fourth or fifth treatment. Depending on the severity of the problem, some patients may need more treatments than others. All patients likely will need maintenance therapy at least yearly.

Contraindications to IPL
  1.  Dark skinned patients, i.e. Fitzpatrick skin types III-V may not be candidates. IPL is a light based therapy that targets Reds to coagulate the telangiectatic blood vessels that release inflammatory components in the eye, but it also targets Brown pigment in the skin. Patients who have a large amount of pigment in the skin, may absorb too much heat from the IPL causing a burn. Radiofrequency may be an alternative.
  1. Doxycycline or Tetracycline systemic treatment.
    These antibiotics increase skin sensitivity to light and may cause a burn. The patient
    should discontinue this class of antibiotics for 2 weeks prior to therapy, or use an
    alternative form of therapy such as Radiofrequency.
  2. Sun exposure, or tanned skin.
    The greater pigment caused by sun exposure and artificial tans can increase the
    absorption of heat by the IPL and cause burns. If the patient cannot avoid significant sun
    exposure, Radiofrequency may be an alternative.
  3. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
What are my alternatives?

For dry eye and blepharitis, traditional treatments have been lid hygiene, artificial tears, punctal
plugs, cyclosporine (restasis) drops, steroid drops, non-steroidal drops, topical and systemic
antibiotics. Many patients still continue some or all of these treatments, although usually at a
greatly decreased rate depending on the severity of their condition and the frequency of their
desired treatments.

Essence now offers a revolutionary new treatment for dry eyes called PReye® Drops, PRP
(Platelet Rich Plasma), only available at Essence.

For patients who desire a technology based treatment and are not candidates for IPL,
Radiofrequency may be option.

Essence Laser & Wellness, under the supervision of Melinda C ORourke, MD, is a referral center for specialty Dry Eye Therapy, and a Medical Aesthetics Practice, and is not a routine Ophthalmology practice. We ask that you provide a copy of a recent eye exam prior to treatment when seeking IPL for Dry Eye, and/or the PReye shot. No exam is necessary for PReye drops or PRP for Aesthetic purposes.

Ask us about our IPL/PReye® bundling packages.