IPL for dry eyes
Dry eyes occur due to a reduction in natural oils that lubricate the eyes. This can be caused by inadequate oil production, blocked glands or reduced blinking due to overuse of screens and computers. The symptoms of dry eyes include red, dry and sore eyes, and it is a very common issue especially as we age - About 30% of adults suffer from this problem.
Why do we get dry eyes?
The oil which lubricates the eye is produced by Meibomian glands. Normally the oil is clear and looks like olive oil. The oil coats our tears and protects our eyes, helping to lubricate the eye for longer periods. However with the advent of age, menopause or inflammatory medical conditions such as rosacea, the oil becomes thick and the glands may become blocked. As less oil is secreted, our tears evaporate more quickly, especially in windy or air-conditioned environments. This causes the eye to “tear up”as the body tries to fix the problem. It also causes dry, red and irritated eyes. Computer overuse compounds the problem because we blink less when we concentrate on screens, meaning less oil is released.
Standard treatments for dry eyes have included hot compresses, artificial tears and occasionally antibiotic. These treatments help, especially if the underlying cause is an inflammatory condition such as rosacea. Supplements such as Omega 3 Fatty Acids and antibacterial ointments can also assist. However, none of these treatment target the most common underlying cause, which is Meibomian gland obstruction.
How does IPL work for dry eyes?
IPL therapy selective heats inflammation and redness in the skin surrounding Meibomian glands and allows a clinician to express blocked areas, allowing release of obstruction. Overtime, this may normalise oil production and leads to a reduction in symptoms. Many patients report relief after 1-2 sessions. This is a really exciting development as it can vastly reduce or even eliminate the need for ongoing drops and discomfort.
Evidence is mounting for the role of IPL in managing dry eyes and ocular rosacea. Before proceeding with your treatment, you may require an ophthalmologist or optometrist to ensure the procedure is safe for you. Dr Grant can provide you with a referral if required.
Initial appointment is 30 minutes. Repeat appointments are 15 minutes.
Monthly for 4 sessions with a review every year.
Most clients notice a response after 1-2 treatments.
Downtime / Aftercare
There is no significant downtime.
What To Expect
Your treatment will involve a standard IPL treatment for rosacea over the upper face and then manual extraction on the Meibomian glands. IPL treatment is relatively comfortable, but it can feel unusual, like an elastic band flicking the skin. Topical anaesthetic will then be dropped into the eye before gland extraction and may sting a little.The glands will then be extracted using gentle pressure.
Initial Consultations with Dr Grant are as per standard AMA rates and attract a medicare rebate.
>15 minutes: $81
>20 minutes: $148
There is currently no medicare rebate for IPL for dry eye unless you meet the medicare rebate for rosacea, which is redness of the skin seen at 3 metres.
If you pre-purchase a treatment package of 4 sessions the cost is $800, saving $200. You can also pay per session at a cost of $250 per visit, or use Zip Money.