Do you have constant red eyes? Are your eyes itchy, burning, stinging, sensitive to light, constantly tearing, uncomfortable with contact lens, or blinking too much? Do you have a hard time driving or reading because of these symptoms? Did you get Lasik Surgery and notice your eyes becoming drier than before? If you have these symptoms, you might have Dry Eye Syndrome, also known as Dry Eye Disease (DED).
Dry Eye is a very common condition that affects millions of people in the world. If left untreated, Dry Eye can lead to eye inflammation and infections. And in severe cases, it can lead to corneal damage, ulcers, and even loss of vision.
What causes Dry Eye?
Dry Eye occurs when there is a disruption to the healthy layers of the tear film, leading to less tear production or an increase in tear evaporation.
There are three different layers:
– Oil layer: works to seal the tear film and reduce evaporation of tears
– Water layer: lubricates the eyes
– Mucin layer: helps spread the water layer evenly over the eyes
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
The meibomian glands are responsible for producing the oils in the oil layer of the eye. Not only that, these glands help prevent the water layer from evaporating. However, when the meibomian glands become blocked, the oil thickens. This prevents the oils from reaching the eye surface. Consequently, the tears evaporate more quickly, resulting in Dry Eye. MGD is the most common cause for Dry Eye, affecting 9 out of 10 people suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye can be treated with warm compresses, lubricating eyedrops, and punctal plugs. However, many patients with MGD have complained that these treatments fail to relieve nor improve their symptoms.
A New Alternative: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Initially, IPL was only used for aesthetic treatments. However, in 2001, Dr. Rolando Toyos discovered that IPL can be beneficial for patients suffering from Dry Eye. IPL uses short bursts of a specific wavelength of light to warm the meibomian glands, melting the thickened oils. Afterwards, these oils are drawn out to unclog the glands. Because the glands are now free from blockage, the production of healthy oils increase, resulting in a healthier tear film.
IPL also helps eliminate harmful blood vessels that increase inflammation of the skin. Additionally, it improves the skin texture by increasing collagen production. This leads to less pigmentation, wrinkles, scars, and an overall healthier skin complexion in the treated area.
Who can benefit from IPL?
IPL can benefit anyone with Dry Eye symptoms, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), Blepharitis, or Chalazion (Stye) who are not improving with traditional treatments. Moreover, IPL therapy can also benefit people, who are considering cataract surgery and people with glaucoma, who are using multiple eye drops or medications.
As always, please consult an eyecare professional about your Dry Eye symptoms and possible treatment options, including IPL.
If you have any questions regarding Dry Eye and MGD, or if you are interested in knowing more about IPL, please feel free to contact us at Advanced Eye Physician.