Treatment for Rosacea & Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a revolutionary technology approved by the FDA to treat over 20 skin conditions. At Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates, Dr. Ernest Kornmehl relies on the Lumenis Optima IPL system to treat inflamed blood vessels related to rosacea, a skin condition characterized by facial redness or flushing. Dr. Kornmehl also uses IPL treatment to target inflamed blood vessels that contribute to meibomian gland dysfunction, a prominent cause of dry eye disease.
Lumenis Optima IPL is safe and effective, and many providers consider it the industry gold standard for the treatment of vascular (blood vessels) lesions. With Dr. Kornmehl at the helm, IPL treatment is gentle and comfortable, and so quick that it can be conveniently scheduled on a lunch break from work. Treatment is combined with LipiFlow to target the root cause of the problem (instead of simply alleviating the symptoms) to dramatically reduce or eliminate facial redness and restore the functional meibomian glands to their optimal state.
How Does IPL Work?
IPL sends pulses of broad-spectrum light through the surface of your skin to target the abnormal blood vessels that cause inflammation. The blood absorbs the light at certain wavelengths and heat is generated. In response to the heat, your body starts to remove the abnormal blood vessels and reverse the inflammation. Over a period of a few weeks following treatment, the vessels close and are resorbed. This improves your skin’s appearance and restores meibomian gland function.
What Happens During IPL Treatment?
IPL is an in-office treatment. A treatment session lasts approximately 15 minutes.
Every effort is made to optimize your safety and comfort. For instance, prior to treatment, Dr. Kornmehl applies a coupling gel to the targeted area to cool and protect your skin. You are also asked to wear protective pads throughout the treatment session.
As Dr. Kornmehl works on the targeted skin, you may feel a warm, light snapping sensation when the light hits your skin. However, this should not be painful.
After your initial IPL treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction, Dr. Kornmehl may recommend LipiFlow treatment to gently express blocked glands and restore the normal flow of oil to the tear film.
Some patients see the desired results in as few as one to two treatments. In most cases, though, four sessions performed within 3-4 weeks is recommended to achieve the desired treatment outcome. Maintenance treatments are recommended once every six to 12 months. Dr. Kornmehl can recommend the number and frequency of treatments based on your specific needs and goals.
What Can I Expect After IPL Treatment?
After treatment, you may experience slight redness around the targeted areas. This redness usually resolves within a few hours.
Normal activities can be resumed the same day as treatment and makeup can usually be applied after three days. Direct sun exposure, self-tanning methods and tanning beds are not permitted during the therapeutic period; sunscreen should be used to protect the skin when going outdoors.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Optima IPL Treatment
How will Optima IPL treatment help with my dry eye symptoms?
Optima IPL treatment may be a good solution for you if your dry eye symptoms are linked to an underlying inflammatory skin condition, such as rosacea or telangiectasia. With these conditions, abnormal blood vessels develop under the skin and release chemicals that cause inflammation. When this inflammation occurs around the eyelids, it interferes with the normal function of the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing oils that prevent your tears from evaporating.
Optima IPL uses light-based energy to remove the sources of inflammation, thereby improving the way the oil-producing glands function. Better-functioning oil glands lead to an improvement in dry eye symptoms. Optima IPL treatment can also eradicate Demodex mites, which are linked to some cases of dry eye.
Who is not a good candidate for Optima IPL treatment?
IPL treatment is not recommended for individuals who:
- Are taking medications that increase photosensitivity
- Are pregnant
- Have a history of keloid scarring
- Have active cold sores, herpes simplex or herpes zoster virus
- Have lupus
- Have used tanning beds within three to four weeks of treatment
Is IPL treatment uncomfortable?
No. The Optima IPL treatment applicator features water-based cool tips to provide a comfortable and well-tolerated treatment. The tips allow Dr. Kornmehl to deliver the desired light energy to the dermis without creating any discomfort. The tips are also uniquely designed for easy access around the delicate eyelid area.
Is IPL a laser?
No. It uses rapid, intense pulses of light, not laser energy.
What are the benefits of Optima IPL for dry eyes?
IPL treatment addresses the root cause of the problem instead of temporarily alleviating symptoms. The treatment is quick and well-tolerated, and can be conveniently performed on a lunch break from work. Most patients see a rapid improvement in their symptoms.
If you have tried other dry eye treatments or medications but have not achieved symptom relief, IPL treatment could be the answer.
How many IPL treatments will I need?
The average patient requires four IPL treatments to achieve desired results. After learning more about you and your case, Dr. Kornmehl can recommend the number of sessions you will require to see results.
How long does each treatment take?
A treatment session usually takes about 15 minutes. Dr. Kornmehl recommends administering IPL in combination with LipiFlow to melt and express thicker oil deposits that can clog normal oil flow.
Is there any downtime after Optima IPL treatment?
You can immediately return to work or your normal day after IPL treatment, as long as you avoid direct sun exposure and wear sunscreen if going outdoors.
Are there any side effects from Optima IPL treatment?
IPL treatment may cause temporary redness, swelling and lightening or darkening of the skin.
How soon will I see the results of treatment?
Most of our patients see an initial improvement in dry eye symptoms after one or two treatments.
Will Optima IPL treatment permanently cure my dry eyes?
For the right candidates, IPL can provide lasting relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye. We recommend maintenance treatments every six to 12 months.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Kornmehl
For more information about IPL for the treatment of rosacea or meibomian gland dysfunction, Dr. Kornmehl invites you to schedule a consultation at our Boston practice.