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Does IPL Treat Dry Eye Symptoms?

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A woman pulls down her bottom eyelid to show her red and dry eye

Dry eye disease affects millions of people worldwide, and while there are several at-home methods to temporarily reduce symptoms, intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is gaining traction as a leading treatment for dry eye.

IPL can help provide lasting relief for dry, scratchy, irritated eyes by targeting the cause of dry eye rather than just the symptoms. 

Our dedicated optometry team at Vision Care Center is trained to help our patients with advanced technology. OptiLight by Lumenis is a light-based, noninvasive treatment done in the area below the eyes to manage dry eye. The first and only IPL FDA-approved for dry eye management.

With a comprehensive eye exam, we can assess your eyes to identify the cause of dry eye disease and begin treatment to help provide lasting relief.

What Is Intense Pulsed Light Therapy?

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a noninvasive form of dry eye therapy that can reduce inflammation with carefully calibrated light energy. It’s been used in dermatology for treating skin conditions, but it’s proving to be an effective method for relieving dry eye symptoms and meibomian gland dysfunction as well.

IPL devices can emit a mild warming effect and targeted light to help break down oil buildup, reduce inflammation near your eyes, and improve meibomian gland function.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) has a strong connection to dry eye disease. Your meibomian glands produce the oil layer of your tear film, which works together with the middle aqueous layer and the inner mucus layer to hydrate and lubricate your eye.

When your meibomian glands are obstructed, they can’t produce healthy oils to lubricate your eyes, which can cause your tears to evaporate quickly and lead to several uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye disease, such as:

  • Gritty sensations
  • Burning and stinging
  • Light sensitivity
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision

Dry eye disease can lead to lasting damage to the cornea if left untreated, including corneal ulcers and vision loss. 

An optometrist uses an IPL device to provide treatment for a patient with dry eyes.

How Can IPL Treatment Relieve Dry Eye Symptoms?

IPL is proving to be a successful dry eye therapy with few adverse side effects. The treatment can offer long-lasting results for dry eye relief and help reduce the need for daily at-home treatments like eye drops and warm compresses.

IPL treatments can help relieve dry eye symptoms by:

  • Warming meibomian glands to ease gland expression
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increasing tear breakup time
  • Improving meibomian gland function
  • Eliminating Demodex mites and bacteria that can lead to blepharitis

What Is the IPL Treatment Process?

Treatments typically last around 20 minutes and often require no downtime after the procedure. During your appointment, you can expect your treatment to be similar to the following procedure:

  • A protective shield will be placed over your eyes, and we’ll apply a cooling gel to the treatment area.
  • We will use the IPL device to apply light and gentle heat that can help liquefy the blockages in your oil glands. You may experience a warm sensation with little to no discomfort during this stage.
  • After the treatment, we may follow up with meibomian gland expression to help clear blocked glands.

After your treatment, you may experience some sensitivity or redness, and we may recommend that you avoid direct sunlight for 48 hours. Our friendly team at Vision Care Center can answer any questions you have and provide post-treatment care instructions to follow.

We often recommend scheduling a series of treatments to achieve full, long-lasting results. We can recommend a treatment plan based on your eyes and the severity of your dry eye symptoms to help relieve your symptoms and support healthy oil production for your eyes.

Take a New Approach to Dry Eye Relief in Peoria & Washington, IL

Home remedies like warm compresses, artificial tears, and lid scrubs or wipes can be valuable for short-term relief of dry eye symptoms. However, they often don’t offer much relief without continuous use. IPL treatments can provide long-term results to help your eyes stay lubricated and nourished by targeting the underlying cause of dry eyes.

At Vision Care Center, we proudly offer dry eye treatments to help make a difference for your eyes. Book an appointment with our committed optometry team to get a clear understanding of what’s causing your symptoms and treatments that can provide relief.

Written by Vision Care Center

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Our Locations


Find us just south of the Sheridan & Glen intersection, on the same side of the road as Marco’s Pizza and across the street from Walgreens.

To contact our Vision Therapy department, please call 309.670.2020 ext. 2, then choose Option #2 to be directed to VT.

  • 4727 N Sheridan Road
  • Peoria, IL 61614


You can find our office on North Cummings Lane, right next door to Rock Valley Physical Therapy. We offer plenty of parking in front of our clinic with accessible parking stalls.

To contact our Vision Therapy department, please call 309.670.2020 ext. 2, then choose Option #2 to be directed to VT.

  • 1009 North Cummings Lane
  • Washington, IL 61571
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