Summit Eye Center Blog

IPL, Intense Pulse Light, for Dry Eye

Dry Eye Cracks

Dry eye disease is a chronic, progressive condition. It has multiple causes such as contact lens wear, advanced age, medications, medical conditions and environmental conditions to name a few. As a result, patients often require treatment that is tailored to their specific signs and symptoms.

Being a chronic and progressive disease, what once worked for a patient may not do the job in the future. This is also a reason that you want to manage both the signs and symptoms aggressively from the beginning to stay ahead of the disease process, minimizing progression as much as possible.

One treatment that is beneficial to many with dry eye that goes beyond the use of artificial tears and medications is IPL, Intense Pulse Light. IPL is used in a variety of situations in skin care such as the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles and hair removal. It was observed that patients with dry eye that underwent IPL for such skin care conditions reported an improvement in their dry eye symptoms.

Dr. Roland Toyos of Memphis, TN spearheaded investigation into IPL as a treatment for dry eye. Summit Eye Center followed this research closely and was one of the first practices in Kansas City to offer IPL as a treatment to its dry eye patients.

IPL treats dry eye with a multifaceted approach. First, IPL heats the oil glands that line the lids, liquefying the hardened oils within. The doctor will then express these glands at the conclusion of the treatment to help restore normal oil flow into the tear film. This oil is an important component of our natural tear film. Also, IPL energy is absorbed by the blood vessels around the eyes. This shrinks abnormal blood vessels and minimizes the inflammatory cells that trigger dry eye. There is also a reduction in the microbial flora and Demodex mite loads at the eyelids, which improves dry eye. In addition, there may be some stimulation of the nerves that line the treatment area, which aids in the treatment of dry eye.

The IPL treatment is done in the office and consists of 4 treatments over a 4-month period. First, the doctor will place shields over the eyes to protect them from the light pulses. A thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the skin. A small device then applies the pulses of light to the treatment area around the eyelids. Finally, the doctor will express the oil glands that line the lids.

After the initial series of IPL treatments, most people will then have occasional maintenance treatments. The frequency of these maintenance treatments will depend on the severity of each individual’s dry eye. Your doctor may also recommend a combination of IPL treatments with other treatments such as punctal plugs or medications to provide the most effective management of one’s dry eye.


Initial treatment for dry eye often begins with artificial tear use in conjunction with warm compresses and lid massage. The artificial tear use provides temporary relief of symptoms, but does not address the cause of dry eye. Warm compresses address one cause of dry eye, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), but are often not intense enough to break through with lasting relief. IPL addresses MGD more aggressively to provide both symptomatic relief as well as slowing the progression of one’s dry eye.

If you suffer from dry eye symptoms and traditional treatment with artificial tears combined with warm compresses and lid massage is providing minimal success, Summit Eye Center is available to help. The doctors at Summit Eye Center specialize in the management of dry eye and will customize a treatment to address your unique dry eye situation. Call Summit Eye Center at 816-246-2111 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Help is available for your dry eyes!

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So Many Choices...What Drops are Best for My Dry Eyes?

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If you suffer from dry eye, you have without a doubt used artificial tears at some point in the treatment of this condition. When you go to the pharmacy to purchase these drops, you likely experienced a stimulus overload with all of the various artificial tears on the market. Hopefully, this week’s blog along with direction from your doctor will help you better navigate the dry eye aisle at your local pharmacy.

Artificial tears are typically the first-line treatment for many causes of eye irritation, especially dry eye. They can be broken down into two major types – those that supplement the watery part of the tear film and those that supplement the oily part of the tear film. Depending on which component of the tear film is lacking, your doctor can direct you to the appropriate type of artificial tear. The majority of dry eye is caused by a deficit in the oily component of the tear film. Therefore, when in doubt those that help replenish the oily part of the tear film are a good choice.

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True Tear

true tear

The doctors at Summit Eye Center are excited to be able to offer a new, innovative treatment for Dry Eye Disease, TrueTear from Allergan. This is a treatment that patients can do at home or on the go that does not involve eye drops or a medication.

TrueTear is a neurostimulation device that temporarily increases the production of your natural tears. The fact that it is your natural tears is important. The natural tear film is composed of lipids, mucins, proteins and salts that are vital to nourishment and protection of the cornea.

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Dry Eye

Dry Eye Disease is one of the most common reasons for patients to visit an eye doctor. A 2012 Gallup poll showed that over 26 million Americans suffer from Dry Eye. Another poll has found that over 45% of the population over the age of 18 in the United States regularly experience Dry Eye symptoms. Dry Eye is characterized by a breakdown in the stability of the tear film.

The tear film is critical in maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye. It is also important in providing clear vision. The cornea, which is the window into the eye, plays the largest focusing role in the eye. Wetting of the cornea by the tear film is critical to maximizing the quality of the images we see.

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