MILAN — Intense pulsed light is an effective treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction and related dry eye disease, according to studies presented here.
Intense pulsed light (IPL, DermaMed) uses a xenon flashlight in a band between 400 nm and 1300 nm.
"Using a filter, we stabilize the emission at 500 nm wavelength, and it pulses on and off. The light penetrates the epidermis, goes down into the dermal layer, and it is absorbed by oxyhemoglobin in the blood cells, making oxyhemoglobin coagulate," Rolando Toyos, MD, said at the annual joint meeting of Ocular Surgery News and the Italian Society of Ophthalmology.
IPL also generates heat that melts the thickened meibum secretions and dilates the glands. By applying gentle pressure, secretions are expressed from the gland, giving immediate comfort to the patient.
"Repeated IPL treatments make the secretions get thinner and thinner, because the telangiectasias that secrete the inflammatory mediators responsible for gland obstruction are closed," Toyos said.
In a single-center prospective study of 30 patients with dry eye symptoms, a single IPL treatment was applied. A clinically significant decrease from abnormal to normal tear osmolarity was reported.
Another study looked retrospectively at the effects of repeated gland expression in 91 patients over 3 years.
"Over 90% of patients had improvement in their meibum and lid margin, and 93% of the patients reported satisfaction with improvement in dry eye symptoms," Toyos said.
Complications such as temporary redness of the skin, conjunctival irritation, foreign body sensation, pain and light sensitivity for a few days were reported by 10 patients.
Disclosure: Toyos is a consultant to DermaMed.