Treating Dry Eye with Intense Pulsed Light

Written by on April 7, 2010 in dry eye, IPL with 5 Comments

KGMH Denver Channel 7 has a piece today, Drop-Free Dry Eye Treatment, highlighting the use of IPL for treating suffers of chronic Dry Eye.

The medical authority behind the article is Dr. Joseph Eviatar, medical director of Chelsea Eye and Cosmetic Surgery Associates in New York. Dr. Eviatar discusses the use of IPL, describing how the light acts as a “warm compress that unplugs glands, allowing tears to flow. It also reduces inflammation”.

Dr. Eviatar says that the applicator is put along the lid margin and that he generally does two passes.

The story makes the point that using IPL to treat dry eye is not a FDA approved treatment.

Drop-Free Dry Eye Treatment

Off-Label Drop-Free Treatment Could Help 23 Million Who Deal With Dry Eye

It’s an annoying eye condition that impacts more than a quarter of the population. Dry eye forces nearly 23 million people to use drops several times a day, but could light therapy typically used to smooth the skin also stop the burning eye condition? Some patients are going off-label to find relief.

“So unlike just using supplemental drops — which really doesn’t treat the condition, it just helps with the symptoms — the light therapy actually helps the cause of dry eye,” Eviatar said.

In one study of 100 patients who didn’t respond to drops or other treatments, all reported some relief from light therapy, and it lasted for four to six months. Doctors say patients typically need four treatments over the course of a year. Each one costs about $250. Susan Tompkin says that’s less than she was paying for the drops she used six times a day, which still didn’t relieve the problem.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can improve symptoms and the meibomian gland’s function in the eye. The applicator is applied below the eyelash margin. Bright light acts as a powerful warm compress to liquefy the secretions plugging up the oil-secreting meibomian glands. Additionally, the IPL reduces inflammation

EyeWorld has a related case report;

Case report: Dry–eye symptoms improve with intense pulsed light treatment

.. a potential use for intense pulsed light treatment for dry-eye.

Our initial use of intense pulsed light for dry-eye patients began when a patient rosacea indicated improvement of dry-eye symptoms since receiving IPL treatment.

We suspect IPL treatment improved meibomian gland production due to either meibomian gland stimulation or effectively decreasing telangiectasia.

However, additional investigation is necessary to determine the exact effects of the IPL on surrounding tissue.

In October 2009 Rosacea News highlighted another television story this time from WSOC Charlotte, Carolina: IPL good for dry eyes too

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Read more about: dry eye, IPL

About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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5 Reader Comments

  1. tessa says:

    “Our initial use of intense pulsed light for dry-eye patients began when a patient rosacea indicated improvement of dry-eye symptoms since receiving IPL treatment. ”

    Well, at least something good can come out of having this terrible disease. I find it strangely comforting that someone who suffers from rosacea put him or herself on the front lines by enduring laser treatments, and could end up helping millions of people!

  2. Sue says:

    Can you please let us know where we can read the above-mentioned study: The study of 100 patients…thanks

  3. Hi Sue,

    Did you follow the link to
    perchance ?

    This leads to a page with a description of the `study’ performed. This page reads like a published abstract from a journal, but I haven’t been able to find that something similar has actually been published.


  4. Nunzi Forlenza says:

    Can you tell me if you had any patients w/dry eye that was the result of
    radiation treatments for a lymphoma. Also, I always had dry eyes before the
    radiation treatments. I have been using all kinds of tear drops, gels & also have
    had the eye plugs inserted.
    I would appreciate you getting back to me.\
    Thank you,

  5. An article today about a clinic: Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut in Fairfield, promoting their treatment of dry eye with IPL.

    Dry eye clinical trial underway:

    Published : Monday, 16 Jul 2012, 6:54 PM EDT, Jocelyn Maminta

    Fairfield, Conn. (WTNH) – For three years now, nothing has eased Albert Addazio’s dry eye condition.

    Ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Noecker explained,  "The problem is these blood vessels leak out a lot of kind of inflammatory stuff and the inflammatory stuff makes the surface of the eyelid not work well."


    He said,  "This is what we are targeting with the light therapy is to get rid of these blood vessels which in turn are plugging up the oil glands."


    Albert smiled saying, "It’s great not having your eyes red all the time, with tissues in your pocket all the time."  

    An added plus for Albert,  it got rid of his Rosacea.

    The study is really aimed at patients who are dealing with oil gland changes.

    For more information visit or call 203-366-8000 or check out

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