For relief for dry eyes, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can provide dry eye treatment for the relief of dry eye syndrome symptoms. IPL is not a laser, but a light-based therapy that was recently discovered to have anti-inflammatory effects that can address the causes of dry eyes. While IPL has long been used in dermatology to treat vascular facial lesions, rosacea spots, and pigmented areas, IPL can now be harnessed for severe dry eye treatment, offering relief for dry eyes.
Dr. Mark C. Maria, a board certified ophthalmologist of Fava and Maria Eye Associates, in conjunction with Valley View Laser M.D., can determine if you suffer from dry eye syndrome symptoms, the causes of dry eyes, and whether IPL severe dry eye treatment is the answer to provide relief for dry eyes.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome symptoms occur when your eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. Recent research has implicated that of the causes of dry eyes, inflammation is a contributing factor to dry eye problems. Other dry eye symptoms include inflammation on the surface of the eye and within the cornea. Without relief for dry eyes, chronic dry eye can advance to blurry vision, burning or gritty feelings, red eyes, corneal pain, scars or ulcers, and occasionally some loss of vision. Dry, irritated eyes can make it difficult to perform daily activities such as reading, driving, working at a computer station for long periods of time, or being in a very dry environment such as the cabin of an airplane or a closed office. Permanent vision loss from dry eye syndrome symptoms are uncommon, but good eye care is important to receive relief for dry eyes.
Normal tears have three layers that naturally soothe dry eyes. The outer layer is an oily layer produced by the meibomian glands within the eyelids and prevents evaporation of the tears. The middle layer, produced by the lacrimal gland, is a watery layer and provides moisture to the eye. The inner layer is a mucous layer that rests against the eye and allows the liquid to spread out across the surface. The inner layer is produced by the accessory glands of the eyelid. Natural tears offer relief for dry eyes on a consistent basis.
There are two main causes of dry eye that often overlap: evaporative dry eye and aqueous tear-deficient dry eye. Evaporative dry eye results from inflammation of the meibomian glands located in the eyelids. These glands make the lipid or oily part of tears that slows evaporation and keeps the tears stable. Inflamed glands lead to an abnormal lipids content and secretion, which allows excessive evaporation of the natural tears. This is the more commonly experienced type of dry eye disease. Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye is a disorder in which the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface. Both require dry eye treatment to relieve or reduce the symptoms of dry eye.
Besides dry, irritated eyes, dry eye symptoms may include the stinging or burning of the eyes, a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye, and episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods, sometimes increasing when outdoors or when windy. Patients report a stringy discharge from the eyes as well as occasional pain and intermittent redness and blurring. Wearing contact lenses can become intolerable; activities that require sustained visual attention such as reading, working on the computer, or driving can be fatiguing. Severe dry eye treatment is needed for chronic dry eye.
Dry eye can be a temporary or chronic condition. It can be associated with a number of other systemic conditions or environmental factors. Medications, skin diseases, pregnancy, menopause and allergies are causes for the development of dry eye. Dry eye can affect anyone and at any age; however, the condition is much more common as we get older. Nearly five million Americans age 50 years and older are estimated to have dry eye. Of these, more than three million are women and more than one and a half million are men.
It is suspected that there are tens of millions more who have not been diagnosed yet with dry eye but suffer from dry eye symptoms. Dry eye is more common for women after menopause. Women who experience menopause prematurely are more likely to need relief for dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome symptoms have also been associated with chronic use of certain medications and those that suffer from abnormal thyroid function. Many patients with chronic dry eye have associated rosacea and blepharitis.
Why IPL Therapy for Dry Eye?
Recent studies have shown that IPL can be used for severe dry eye treatment because it targets abnormal blood vessels and increases the flow of impacted meibomian secretions. Filters are used to apply specific wavelengths of light to target abnormal blood vessels around the eyelids and skin that are often responsible for causing eyelid inflammation and resultant meibomian gland dysfunction, offering relief for dry eyes.
Conventional dry eye treatments involve several therapies often combined for one individual. Artificial tears are used to replace those not being produced or those that evaporate too quickly without a cure for dry eyes. Punctal plugs are used to block the tiny drainage system in the inner corners of the eyelids to retain more moisture in the eye. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications are used to suppress inflammation in the tear glands and promote more normal functioning. Oral supplements are a useful adjunct to improve the consistency of the lipid layer of the tear film. Unfortunately, even with combined therapy, many patients still suffer from the discomfort and dry, irritated eyes without much relief for dry eyes in the long run.
What is the IPL Procedure Like?
During the IPL procedure, the light therapy is not applied directly to the eye during the dry eye treatment. Eye protection is carefully applied during the procedure for dry eye syndrome symptoms. Dr. Maria, or one of his associates, will first determine the light settings based on your skin type. A protective eye shield is gently placed over your eyes. A cool gel is applied to the skin surface and then the IPL treatment is performed. Most patients experience a tingling and heating sensation as the light is applied. Lastly, the meibomian glands are expressed to relieve the gland obstructions.
The procedure to receive relief for dry eyes is relatively comfortable and quick, taking only about 20 to 25 minutes in total. Most patients require four dry eye treatments initially (one per month) and then maintenance dry eye treatments on an annual basis to fully address and relieve the symptoms of dry eye. Treatments for the relief of dry eyes may vary depending upon the severity of each individual patient’s dry eye syndrome symptoms.
Immediately after the dry eye treatment, you may return to normal activities. The use of sunblock is recommended on areas that are exposed to the sun. This is important even without IPL treatment, but is more important after the light treatments. After the initial treatment, most patients report some improvement in their dry eye symptoms. Studies have shown an objective increase in tear function after each treatment, with maximum improvement occurring after the fourth or fifth treatment. A cure for dry eyes has not yet been discovered, but relief for dry eyes is available.
Visit the Dry Eye Treatment Gallery to view after treatment results.
After years of suffering and searching for relief for dry eye syndrome symptoms, try this relatively painless, non-invasive advanced technology therapy that addresses the causes of dry eye and start living again!