What is IPL-light-therapy? What makes it so successful?

Intense-pulsed-light (IPL) is a technology used by cosmetic and medical practioners to perform various skin treatments for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes. IPL is increasingly used in ophthalmology as well, to treat evaporative dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction.

  • IPL-light-therapy is a light-impuls therapy, which counteracts the inflammatic causes of dry eyes disease, stimulates the meibomian glands and enhances healing procedure.
  • Every patient can be treated with IPL-light-therapy if suffering from blepharitis or abnormal meibomian gland production (main cause of dry eye symptoms). Supplementation of lipids can be tried before.

      => ask your dry eye specialist at Athens Eye Hospital

IPL-therapy has a long-term healing effect and can make eye-drops, sprays etc. irrelevant. So the patient saves time and money.


Who benefits from IPL-light-therapy?

People suffering from dry eyes due to:

  • Allergic reactions to environmental factors or contact lenses.
  • Hormone deficiencies, which may lead to alternate tearfilm compositions
  • Chronical inflammations of the eyelids due to skin diseases (e.g. rosacea etc.) or skin-mites like demodex
  • "Office Eye syndrome", due to air conditioning, computer work (lower blinking rates) etc.

IPL-light-therapy mainly treats the glands of the lid margin and inflammations. Patients with a single wetting disorder or people suffering from allergic reactions should be excluded from IPL-therapy.
A treatment with IPL-Light-therapy should be considered, when eye-drops/sprays are not working for 1 month, thus it’s a chronic disorder. For patients with chronic dry eye symptoms and/or inflammations at the lid margin, IPL-light can contribute significantly to the healing processes.

How does IPL-light-therapy work?

It is the use of intense pulses of non-coherent light over a range of wavelengths from 500nm to 1200nm (here 590nm). Xenon flash lamps produce high output bursts of broad spectrum. This leads to warming and enhanced blood flow through the skin. Thus biochemical reactions start, useful for therapeutic reasons. Cooling is used to protect the skin in contact with the device.


What IPL-light-therapy can do for you:

  • Improvement of skin flora: chronical infections with skin-bacteria and/or mites leads to an infection oft he lid margin, thus to an instabil tearfilm. IPL-treatment kills bacteria and mites significantly.
  • Enhancement of blood circulation: So called "spider-veins" get reduced, leading the better blood circulation of your lid-margin and connective tissue
  • Photomodulation of your metabolism: The light energy leads to stimulation of metabolism processes within your skin and lid-margin. Your skin produces more natural antiinflammatory substances like interleukin-10 and TGF-ß, causing reduction of inflammation. Thus photomodulation is a kind of "self- medication" of your body.

- All these enhancements are reducing your chronical inflammation, thus improve your dry eye symptoms –

- Ask your dry eye specialist for treatment options -

How is an IPL-light-therapy performed?

  • A therapy session takes about 30 minutes. An effective IPL-light-therapy normally takes 4 sessions (1 per month)
  • Before treatment, please remove make-up completly, including eyelashes! Remaining make-up may lead to inflammations
  • Afterward a cooling gel is applied.
  • Now IPL-light-therapy can be performed. The cooling gel prevents the skin from burning.
  • After light-treatment your meibomian glands at the lid margin are heated up to 40°C, thus the content of the glands is more fluid and needs to be squeezed out. This happens manually with help of a slit lamp. This treatment, called „meibomian gland expression“, also reactivates the meibomian glands (obstructed before) to produce secret. Of course the former blocked gland-exits are free again and become porous.

Due to the fact, that your meibomian glands have suffered from a long-term obstruction, a single therapy may not be enought to permanently reactivate your glands. It may be necessary to repeat the session after 4 weeks. How often a treatment (normally 4 sessions, every 4 weeks) needs to be performed depends on the condition of your glands etc.