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Dry Eye Clinic Now Offering IPL Treatments

Intense pulsed light treatments (IPL) to address meibomian gland dysfunction.

Written by Nancy McNamara, OD, PhD

The Dry Eye Clinic has added the OptiLight Intense Pulsed Laser (IPL) by Lumenis to their arsenal of in-office technologies to treat the signs and symptoms of dry eye. IPL, used commonly in dermatology to treat rosacea and reduce telangiectasia (tiny, new blood vessels), is now being used to treat dry eye disease. Specifically, IPL treats the most common cause of dry eye disease – meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Inflammation in MGD is associated with abnormal blood vessel growth around the meibomian glands leading to the secretion of harmful inflammatory markers. Inflammation negatively impacts the gland and the quality of oil which can lead to reduced secretion, gland clogging, and gland loss associated with intense symptoms of dry eye. During IPL treatment, a strategic level and frequency of light pulses are administered to the area around the eyes to generate heat that shrinks the abnormally growing blood vessels. Reducing the presence of these vessels reduces inflammation in and around the meibomian glands, improving the quality and secretion of oils.

“Dry eye can cause debilitating discomfort that significantly impacts a patient’s quality of life,” says Dr. Nancy McNamara, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Co-Chief of the Dry Eye Clinic. “We are excited to offer Intense Pulsed Light therapy as a service to our patients, as well as provide our students the opportunity to learn about the latest technologies in dry eye management. IPL is the perfect addition to our full service dry eye clinic and we look forward to providing it as another option for our patients to alleviate the burden of dry eye symptoms.”