Lumenis Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy for Dry Eyes

Lumenis Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy for Dry Eyes

One of the common causes for a visit to the eye doctor is dry eyes. People suffering from dry eyes complain of a foreign body sensation in the eye, accompanied by a burning or itching sensation. 

In the past, the treatment of dry eyes had been limited to artificial tear drops or other more invasive techniques such as tear gland expression. But, more recently, a new non-invasive and non-ablative technique called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) has emerged for managing dry eyes. 

Among the many IPL machines available in the market, the Lumenis IPL technology has a long history of safe use by dermatologists to treat various skin conditions. It has been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of over 20 skin conditions, including but not limited to ocular rosacea and skin pigmentation disorder. 

What is Lumenis Optima™ IPL?

Lumenis Optima™ IPL is a device that has been in use for more than 20 years by dermatologists. More recently, it is gaining popularity for its ability to treat dry eyes safely as it is both non-invasive and non-ablative. 

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What conditions can Lumenis Optima™ IPL treat?

Lumenis IPL is now widely used as an effective treatment for dry eyes caused by inflammatory conditions and meibomian gland dysfunction. There are many conditions that can cause dry eyes, such as insufficient tear production, dehydration, dry arid environment, and meibomian gland dysfunction. 

The meibomian gland is a small glandular structure present within the eyelids that are essential for the synthesis of lipids. These lipids form a thin coat over the tear film, which prevents the tears from evaporating. Deficiency of this lipid layer due to meibomian gland dysfunction can result in dry eyes. 

Rosacea is a systemic inflammatory disease that can affect the eyes as well. When it affects the eyes, it is known as ocular rosacea. In ocular rosacea, the blood vessels surrounding the eyelids become abnormal and secrete inflammatory mediators. This can lead to eyelid inflammation, which in turn can result in dry eye symptoms. 

Furthermore, eyelid inflammation can clog the meibomian glands as well, which can worsen dry eye symptoms. 

What can you expect during treatment with Lumenis IPL?

Before Treatment

For at least two weeks before treatment, limit exposure to sunlight as much as possible. You can do so by being strict with sunscreen usage, wearing hats, using sunglasses, and staying indoors as much as possible. 

On the day of the treatment, it is best to go makeup-free. In fact, we also advise you to skip your usual skin products on treatment day. 

During Treatment

Treatment with Lumenis IPL is quite simple, fast, and painless. During the procedure, a gel will be applied over the area to be treated. Your eyes will be protected using a shield. 

When the machine is turned on and the light is directed towards the treatment site, a sensation of warmth may be felt. But, you will feel no pain and only a slight yet tolerable discomfort. The entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes to complete. 

After the light therapy, meibomian gland expression is usually performed. Doing so helps clean out the blockage within the meibomian glands. 

After Treatment

After completion of the light therapy and meibomian gland expression, a cool cloth is placed over the treatment site to ease any discomfort. Although uncommon, temporary swelling and redness may be observed after treatment. 

It is your duty to diligently avoid exposure to sunlight both immediately and at least one month after completing the treatment. 

Avoid the application of makeup and other irritants on the day of treatment. Based on how well your skin heals, you can apply makeup the next day after treatment. 

Any instructions given by your ophthalmologist should be strictly followed to achieve optimum results and avoid adverse effects. 

How does Lumenis IPL technology work?
Lumenis pre-selects light waves of a particular frequency to decrease the inflammation responsible for dry eye disease. These light waves also generate heat within the clogged glands and promote tear break-up time, while also improving meibomian gland functioning.

How does Lumenis Optima™ IPL help chronic dry eye?

In dry eye disease, the main culprit is the inflammatory agents released by the abnormal blood vessels. Lumenis Optima™ IPL selectively targets and destroys the abnormal blood vessels. By doing so, Lumenis minimizes the inflammation responsible for dry eye disease.

Additionally, when Lumenis Optima™ IPL is directed towards dysfunctional meibomian glands, it heats the contents of the clogged glands and liquifies them. The clogged glands can then open up on their own or can be opened manually using meibomian gland expression.

Once the glands are unclogged and the inflammation is controlled, the tear film will contain an appropriate amount of lipid. This will prevent dry eyes from occuring in the first place.

Lumenis Optima™ IPL also has the ability to destroy tiny mites, called Demodex, which burrow into the eyelid margin where the meibomian glands are present. The frequency of finding these mites is particularly higher among rosacea patients, which further increases their risk of developing dry eyes.

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