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IPL - Intense Pulsed Light

Matheson Optometrists now provide a new treatment for Dry Eye called IPL(intense pulsed light). In the photo below you can see a patient having the procedure performed.

Using the advanced Lumenis M22 device scientifically controlled pulses of intense red light of only a few milli-seconds duration are applied to the eyelids and upper face.

Intense light is applied in thirteen to fourteen places across the face in two to three passes during one treatment. A further three to four treatments will be required to complete the course. There is usually a break of between three or four weeks between treatments.

Cosmetically IPL is used for many other purposes, such as the treatment of acne, freckle lightening and hair removal. For the treatment of dry eye, the ammount of light penetration falls below that used for vascular pigment.

The colour of your skin affects how many treatments you require and will also determine suitability. The darker your skin tone, the lower the energy levels we can use. Treating darker tones can damage the melanin. As darker skin absorbs energy more easily and retains heat for longer, we may not be able to apply enough energy to the meibomian glands without damaging other tissues for those with very dark skin.

It is important not to use any retinoid face creams (retinal, retinol etc) as they can sensitise the skin to the light treatment used.


IPL has been used since 1995 to treat abnormal blood vessels and inflammation in diseases such as Acne Rosacea. It is thought to exert its effects by several different mechanisms:-

In addition it is thought that there is a “photo-BioModulation”mechanism due to the red visible and the infra-red IPL light which improves the function at a cellular level which

All these effects help normalise the tear film


This a new and exciting addition to the armoury of products and techniques we now have to treat dry eye, such as

For the best possible recommendations we recommend having a full Dry Eye Assessment at one of our practices.