According to statistics, the intense pulsed light (IPL) segment of the photorejuvenation market was projected at $680 million in 2018 and the entire photorejuvenation market is set to hit 2.5 billion by the year 2025. Experts are expecting significant growth in this market in the coming years, and this is a good thing for those who suffer from rosacea, ocular rosacea, and dry eyes. The more readily IPL is offered in dermatology, optometry, and ophthalmology clinics, the better off our patients will be.
IPL uses selective photothermolysis (high intensity light pulses) to treat conditions such as rosacea, facial telangiectasias, skin pigment, wrinkles, and even excess hair. IPL is so loved because it is not only rapidly effective, but it’s safe as well, causing minimal collateral tissue injury. We love it because it helps so many of our rosacea and ocular rosacea patients look and feel better by diminishing the appearance of telangiectasias and decreasing inflammation of the meibomian glands. It’s also a safe treatment that requires no medications, and it works quickly.
How Does IPL Work?
When the skin is treated with photothermolysis, it is heated using a range of wavelengths, and this heat helps to destroy unwanted cells that may be causing inflammation, pigmentation, or other issues. Keep in mind that if you are pregnant, have recently used a tanning bed or any retinoid creams, or if you have darker skin, you may not be a candidate for IPL. Anyone who administers IPL should analyze your skin tone with Fitzpatrick Skin Typing. If you are a 1-3, you’re fine to have IPL. If your skin is darker, in the 4-6 range, caution must be used because IPL has the potential to cause skin tone changes where it is used. An experienced professional will know how to analyze your skin for any potential issues.
Once you’ve determined that you’re a candidate and you come in for your appointment, eye shields will be placed on your eyes and a gel will be applied to your skin. Most sessions last 20-30 minutes, and you may notice a slight stinging sensation, like a rubber band being snapped on your skin. Click here to learn more about the Periman IPL Protocol, developed by Dr. Laura Periman.
Cost of IPL
IPL ranges in cost from $400-800 per session, and this may vary depending on where you live and who you choose to administer the procedure. Many insurances will consider this a cosmetic procedure, so you’ll need to expect to pay out-of-pocket for treatment, unfortunately.
Alternative Treatments for Blepharitis and MGD
IPL is currently being researched for whether or not it is effective in treating many facets of dry eye disease. Theories are great, and it seems to work well for many people, but what are a few other ways to treat posterior blepharitis (MGD)?
We always like to start with eyelid hygiene. Once or twice per day, wash your face with a tea tree oil soap (removing any makeup, if applicable, with an oil-based cleanser). After that, use a hypochlorous acid cleanser to ensure the eyelashes and eyelids are kept clean and free of debris. Hypochlorous acid is a spray formula, so simply spray it onto your closed eyelids, rub it in, and let it dry. This simple morning and evening routine can help tremendously! If you suffer from ocular rosacea, a warm compress may not be the best idea for you, however if you do not, you can always add in a warm compress before using the hypochlorous acid cleanser.
Overall, I can’t wait to see what new research is sure to come out around IPL and dry eyes, specifically for those with MGD and ocular rosacea. There’s such a huge opportunity here to change a lot of lives, from both a cosmetic and healing standpoint.