IPL Treatment

Once the experts at Northside Vision have answered the (literally) burning question about why your eyes water excessively or feel dry and gritty, let us deploy the newest technology to help you feel better (and some patients say they look better too…).


Intense pulsed light, or IPL, uses specially calibrated pulses of light to treat various conditions. The energy from the pulses of light permeates the surface of the skin around your eyes (where the systems responsible for your tears and healthy oils are located); And many people experience relief after just a few treatments with this breakthrough technology.

Until recently, IPL was used primarily as an esthetic treatment for skin conditions and to fade visible blood vessels, reduce dark skin spots, and remove unwanted hair. The value of IPL technology for treating dry eyes was discovered by accident. Patients who were being treated with IPL for a specific skin problem called rosacea had reported that they were noticing a significant improvement in their dry eye symptoms. More research was done and the benefits of IPL therapy for long-term dry eye relief were established.

Our experts use IPL therapy to treat the meibomian glands in your eyelids. These glands are responsible for secreting the oil component of your tear film.

The energy from the IPL pulses is transferred to the meibomian glands via a parasympathetic nerve located in the upper cheek area. Application of this targeted, precise and controlled IPL treatment leads to the meibomian glands secreting better quality meibum into the tear film, resulting in a healthier quality tear film. IPL can also break the cycle of inflammation that is associated with dry eyes. IPL therapy has been shown to improve meibomian gland dysfunction and improve overall tear quality.

Before your IPL treatment begins, we will apply ultrasound gel to your upper cheek area and provide you with protective goggles to wear during the procedure. The IPL flashes of light are not applied to the eyes directly. Instead, the treatment is applied to the upper cheek area and near each eye. The number of flashes will depend; but will usually be at least 5 flashes per eye, per session. This part of the treatment only lasts a few minutes.

As part of your customized treatment plan, the doctor may also perform manual lid expression following an IPL session. This involves gently squeezing out some of the oils from the meibomian glands in the eyelids that had been previously clogged. The number of treatments you require will be determined by your optometric physician. Generally, our treatment protocol will involve around three sessions to achieve the desired results. Many people feel a significant difference in their symptoms after one treatment, but research indicates that multiple sessions can be optimal for managing this chronic condition.

The only way to know for sure is to undergo a Dry Eye assessment with Dr Fairborn. IPL treatments are not suitable for every patient: For example, IPL is not recommended for people who are pregnant or those with very dark skin tones.

If you think you may have dry eyes, it is important to speak with your eye doctor about it. There are ways to alleviate symptoms, and proper treatment could prevent further eye health issues.

Your optometric physician may use light therapy to help treat your dry eyes if:

  • You have chronic or returning dry eye symptoms

  • You have been diagnosed with meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Other treatments have not provided long-term relief

Why wait for relief from those gritty, itchy dry eye symptoms? Consult with Dr Fairborn and his caring staff today.

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