New Dry Eye Treatment - IPL & LLLT

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT)

Current treatments for Dry Eye treat the symptoms to enable you to be more comfortable. However, there is a now a treatment available which treats MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction), the cause of up to 80% of dry eye cases.

IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatment combined with LLLT (low level light therapy) is a pain-free and effective way to treat dry eye conditions related to MGD, improving tear quality and other symptoms reported by patients.

How Does IPL/LLLT Work?

The meibomian glands in the eyelids produce oil that forms part of the tear film.  The oily layer prevents the tears from evaporating. 
 
MGD occurs when the meibomian glands are obstructed or inflamed. Patients with facial or ocular rosacea, have abnormally dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia) along the eyelid margins.  These dilated vessels deliver increased inflammation to the eyelid and can cause dysfunction of the meibomian glands.  


IPL causes photocoagulation (it closes these abnormal vessels) and also photorejuvenation of the skin cells. IPL treatment also opens up the meibomian glands and liquifies of the oil within the glands. 
 
After IPL treatment,  the low level light (LLLT) mask is worn for around 15 minutes (depending on the severity of your dry eye) which liquifies the oils in the glands. Finally our dry eye Optometrist will manually express the meibomian glands to release the old oils in the lids.
 

How quickly does it work?

Depending on the severity of your dry eye disease, a treatment course is four treatments, separated by 2-3 weeks.  After the third or fourth treatment research has shown there is an improvement in tear evaluation scores.  The full effects can be up to a month after the final IPL course.
 
Further treatments may not be required depending on the presenting dry eye disease, occasionally 6 or 12 monthly top-up treatments can be performed. 

Pre and Post Treatment Precautions

Please note the following pre and post care for IPL and LLLT treatment:
  • Do not take photo-sensitising drugs, or if they are essential, please inform your optometrist
  • Do not expose yourself to the sun or apply self-tanning products 15-20 days before treatment.
  • Do not perform chemical, physical or enzymatic peels before and during the period of treatment.
  • If taking medications such as anti-inflammatories, anticoagulants, antibiotics and antihistamines, please notify the Optometrist.
  • If you wear contact lenses, you should remove them before starting the treatment.
  • After the treatment some slight redness may appear.
  • It is recommended not to carry out other aesthetic medical procedures on the treated areas (but in general on the entire face) for the duration of the cycle.
  • For at least 15 days after each session we suggest you to wear sunglasses.
  • Apply sun block over the skin around the eyes and cheeks for at least 2 weeks after treatment

Who shouldn't have this treatment?

We will discuss precautions and contraindications to the treatment with you at your appointment.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you have suspicious skin lesions in the area to be treated eg keloids.
  • If you have Psoriasis vitiligo lupus scleroderma or connective tissue disorder.
  • If you have Photosensitive Epilepsy
  • If you have metal plates rods or screws in the treatment area.
  • If you have a history of cancer in the area of treatment.
  • If you have used isotretinoin within the last year.
  • If you have used a tanning bed in the last 3-4 weeks.
  • If you have had botox or dermal fillers in the last week (or 2 weeks after treatment).
  • If you have active cold sores or Herpes simplex or zoster virus.
  • If you have used photosensitizing drugs e.g. tetracycline antibiotics

THE RESEARCH

You can download the patient information leaflets and clinical research papers below:

LLLT & Eye light patient leaflet

Optician Journal Treatment Study

Treating Sjogrens Syndrome with IPL/LLLT