IPL - FAQ

Question 1: What does IPL Mean?

Answer: IPL stands Intense Pulse Light.  It is a treatment for evaporative dry eye related to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and ocular rosacea.

Question 2: How does IPL Work?

Answer: A number of theories have been proposed to explain how IPL treats dry eye.

  • Closing down of abnormal blood vessels: ocular rosacea is a common cause of MGD.  Here, dilated (widened) abnormal blood vessels develop around the eyelid and eyelid margin.  These vessels release chemicals that induce inflammation of the meibomian glands which cause blockages and eventual destruction of the glands.  The energy from the intense pulse of light destroys these abnormal vessels, as the result the source of inflammation is removed.
  • Heating the oils in the meibomian gland: the energy fo the IPL causes an increase in skin temperature causing the oils in the glands to melt.  This, in turn, helps to unlock the meibomian glands.
  • IPL changes the cells within the glands: It has been proposed that IPL may change the cells that produce oil with the gland to prevent them from clogging up.
  • IPL increases collagen production, therefore, improving the structure of the eyelids.
  • IPL eradicates Demodex: IPL energy is absorbed by the Demodex mite causing its destruction.  Demodex is often found in MGD and is thought to be a cause of MGD.
  • IPL is thought to suppress proteins responsible for inflammation.

Question 3: How does many treatments are required?

Answer:Generally, up to 4 treatments are required separated by a minimum of 2 weeks.

Question 4: Once treatment is complete, am I cured?

Answer: There is no cure for MGD.  Warm compresses are still advised and only one session of IPL treatment is required every year.

Question 5: How long does IPL treatment take?

Answer: IPL treatment takes around 15 minutes.  However, we also perform a low light heat treatment to warm the oils in the lid for another 15 minutes.  After this, Dr Dave will perform meibomian expression by squeezing the lids using a meibomian forceps in order unblock the meibomian glands.

Question 6: What is the cost of IPL?

Answer: Each IPL treatment costs £150.

Question 7: Can I drive after treatment?

Answer: Yes.

Question 8: When is IPL not recommended?

Answer:

  • Don’t have treatment if you’ve used tanning beds 3-4 weeks before to treatment.
  • No use of isotretinoin within the last year
  • Manufacturers suggest avoiding treatment during pregnancy
  • History of cancer in the area of treatment
  • Active cold sores or herpes simplex or herpes zoster virus
  • History of keloids
  • History of metal plates, rods or screws in the area
  • Use of any photosensitive medications or herbal supplements, oral antibiotics
  • Psoriasis, vitiligo or warts, lupus or connective tissue disorder
  • Avoid Botox and dermal fillers for 1 week prior to treatment and 2 weeks after treatment
  • Fitzgerald skin type four or below (darker skin has the risk of depigmentation).

Question 9: What are the side-effects of IPL?

Answer:

  • temporary erythema (redness),
  • temporary itching and oedema (swelling),
  • temporary hyperpigmentation/hypopigmentation (lightening or darkening of the skin in the treated area).

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