Chronic dry eye can be a challenging condition to deal with, particularly when artificial tears and eye insert treatments are not working. Fortunately, IPL treatment can correct the underlying cause of dry eye to give you long-lasting relief. Learn more about how intense pulsed light therapy can work for the treatment of chronic dry eye before you schedule your first appointment with Dr. Patel at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS.
How Long Does IPL Treatment Last?
IPL treatment for dry eye can produce long-lasting results. For example, some people may be able to enjoy results for as long as a year. Factors about your general health, your eye health, medications, and allergies can influence how long your results will last. However, if you keep up with regular treatment appointments, you will generally be able to enjoy long-lasting results.
Can Results Be Permanent?
Because the main underlying cause of dry eye is clogged meibomian glands, the result of this treatment may not be permanent. This is because the meibomian glands are oil glands that can eventually become clogged again due to meibomian gland dysfunction. If you want to enjoy permanent results, you will have to keep up with maintenance treatments and other treatments for dry eyes.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
Many patients will need between two and four IPL treatments to achieve optimal results. In general, your treatments will be spaced one month apart for at least four months to break up clogged meibomian glands and restore moisture to the tear film of your eye. Factors related to your eye health may also influence how many treatments you need to achieve optimal results.
How Does IPL Treatment for Dry Eye Work?
Intense pulsed light therapy for dry eyes works similarly to IPL therapy for dermatology concerns. This treatment will use intense pulse light to break up oil that is clogging the meibomian glands. When these glands release oil more freely, the symptoms of dry eye will reduce. During your treatment, a protective lens will be placed over your eye to protect your vision while the IPL system is working to address your meibomian gland dysfunction. Most of the time, this appointment will take 30 to 60 minutes.
How Soon Will You Notice Results?
It may take several days or weeks for you to notice significant results after your intense pulsed light therapy. Although a single treatment is powerful enough to express the oil glands around your eye, it may take several treatments to restore normal oil production and oil flow over the tear film of your eye. People who have healthier eyes tend to notice results more quickly.
Who Are Good Candidates?
The candidates who are ideal for this treatment are people who have been diagnosed with chronic dry eye. People of all ages can use this treatment, although the treatment is often recommended for mature people who have not responded favorably to other dry eye treatments. The very best candidates for this treatment are those who are committed to improving their eye health, as well as those who are tired of using artificial tears.
Other Dry Eye FAQs
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Dry Eye?
Although dry eye is a common eye condition, not everyone will experience dry eyes. For example, dry eyes are common if you have to spend a lot of time in front of the computer or if your eyes are tired from staying up too long.
However, occasional dryness tends to fix itself after rest, particularly if the function of the oil glands around your eyes is still healthy. That said, you may be at a higher risk of developing chronic dry eyes syndrome based on your age, medical conditions, medications, and other factors.
Young people typically do not need to worry about chronic dry eye unless the condition is related to a structural issue with the eyelid or medications. The people who are at the highest risk of developing chronic dry eye are those over 50. This is because, after age 50, the tear progression of your eye will start to diminish. Your age may also affect the hormones in your body that control oil production, which is why older people may experience dry eye more often during andropause in menopause.
Certain medical conditions can also make it easier to develop chronic dry eye. For example, seasonal allergies and eye allergies can disrupt the tear function of your eyes. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and vitamin A deficiency can all also contribute to developing chronic dry eye syndrome.
Sometimes, medications used regularly can also cause dry eye side effects. Medications such as antihistamines, acne medication, antidepressants, birth control, blood pressure medication, and over-the-counter decongestants can all cause dry eyes. Fortunately, if medication is contributing to your dry eye symptoms, your condition will usually clear up when you are no longer taking that specific medication. However, if you need to take medication long-term to manage your health condition, you may want to consider treatments for dry eyes.
Long-term use of contact lenses may also have an impact on developing dry eye symptoms. This could be because of the material used for contact lenses or contact lens cleaning fluid, both of which may negatively affect the tear film of your eye. If you think contact lenses may be the cause of your chronic dry eye, please speak with your ophthalmologist about changing your prescription or getting traditional glasses to correct vision issues. Corrective vision surgery may also resolve these symptoms.
Finally, eyelid issues may also contribute to the development of dry eyes. Structural irregularities with your eyelid, either associated with aging or injuries, can affect the oil production around your eyes. Some eyelid issues can also make it easier for water to evaporate on your tear film, which can also lead to dry eye symptoms.
What Are Dry Eye Symptoms?
Most people associate dry eyes with gritty eyes, tired eyes, and sometimes burning eyes. However, dry eye symptoms can be very serious and may cause light sensitivity, difficulty driving at night, blurry vision, and other visual impairments. Other symptoms of dry eye can include stringy mucus in the eye, scratchy eyes, gritty eyes, and much more. All of these symptoms can be very irritating and create issues in your ability to function every day.
How Is This Condition Diagnosed?
Chronic dry eye is diagnosed by examining the health of your eye and learning more information about your historical eye health. Your eye exam for dry eye can be done during your annual eye exam. The medications you are taking may also be used to determine whether your dry eyes are caused by your medications or some other eye dysfunction.
What Are Common Dry Eye Treatments?
There are several treatments that can be used to address chronic dry eye. The most common treatment is artificial tears, which mimic the moisture produced by natural tears. Artificial tears can be used one to several times a day, depending on the severity of your dry eye condition. Prescription artificial tears may also stimulate the natural production of tears, which can compensate for dysfunctional meibomian glands.
An ophthalmologist may also recommend eye inserts, which are a type of slow-release artificial tears. Eye inserts are placed between your eye and lower lid and will dissolve over several hours to keep your eyes moist. People who are used to wearing contact lenses may prefer to use eye inserts to keep their eyes moist.
Is IPL Treatment More Powerful When Combined With Other Dry Eye Treatments?
Depending on your particular eye condition, you may get more powerful results when you combine intense pulsed light therapy with other dry eye treatments. For example, IPL therapy is commonly combined with artificial tears or tear-stimulating drugs to treat moderate dry eye. If you have tear duct dysfunction, it may be recommended to have a procedure that can close the tear ducts to prevent tears from evaporating too quickly.
Correct Dry Eyes WIth IPL Treatments
Dry eyes can be very frustrating and can even cause visual impairments. Intense pulsed light therapy can produce long-lasting results, particularly for people who have dry eyes that are associated with meibomian gland dysfunction. If you think this treatment is a good option for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS today.