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What Are IPL Treatments?

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A woman with long, straight, brown hair wearing a gray button-up sweater is sitting in an office with a laptop off to the side, rubbing her eyes with both hands

If you suffer from eye conditions like dry eye, blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, or have aesthetic concerns, you may be wondering what options exist beyond artificial tears or prescription eye drops. Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a treatment option that can reduce inflammation, improve ocular surface health, alleviate chronic eye conditions, and improve the appearance of your eyes.

Whether you’re considering IPL therapy as a new treatment option or want to learn more about the innovations in ocular care, a consultation with your optometrist can provide the information you need to make an informed choice about treatment.

Overview of IPL Treatments

Intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL, is a noninvasive therapy that uses brief pulses of high-intensity light to safely stimulate the tissues of the skin and eyes. An IPL device emits a broad spectrum of light at specific wavelengths, then the light energy is converted into heat, which triggers collagen production.

Common Applications of IPL Therapy

IPL therapy can treat a wide range of chronic eye and skin conditions, including blepharitis, the meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) that causes dry eye, and achieve some aesthetic specific results.

IPL for Dry Eye

Dry eye is a condition caused by the eyes not producing enough tears or producing low-quality tears, which results in redness, grittiness, and discomfort. IPL treatments for dry eye have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms associated with evaporative dry eye and MGD.

IPL works by heating the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing the oily component of tears. The warming from the IPL treatment can help unblock them, leading to an improvement of dry eye symptoms.

IPL for Age Spots & Wrinkles

Age spots and wrinkles are some of the most common visible signs of aging, and IPL treatments can help reduce these signs. IPL works on these skin cells by targeting pigments, which lightens the appearance of age spots.

IPL also triggers tissue repair mechanisms, producing collagen and elastin, which further helps with wrinkle reduction and restores a youthful appearance.

IPL for Spider Veins

Spider veins are small, dilated blood vessels commonly appearing on the lower legs and face. IPL treatments are an excellent option for minimizing the appearance of these veins. The treatment uses focused light that targets the pigments in the blood responsible for these veins’ appearance.

The IPL light causes the blood in the veins to coagulate, obstructing the blood flow, and causing the vein to shrink and disappear over time. As the spider veins break down, the body reabsorbs them, revealing clear, even skin. 

Icon Laser Skin Revitalization

Icon laser skin revitalization is a kind of IPL treatment. The broad-spectrum light comprehensively targets imperfections on the skin to address common skin problems, including:

  • Birthmarks
  • Rosacea
  • Hyperpigmentation and discoloration
  • Scars
  • Stretch marks
  • Sun damage

The light energy penetrates the skin’s surface to stimulate collagen production and improve skin tone and texture. It can be used on the face, neck, chest, hands, and other areas of the body. 

There are several reasons why Icon laser skin revitalization is the ideal solution for excellent skin.

  • Non-invasive
  • Safe
  • Requires no downtime

Icon laser technology is versatile and effective, and most patients see noticeable improvement after a few sessions. Whether you want to get rid of specific skin problems or simply want to rejuvenate your skin’s texture, Icon laser skin revitalization can help you achieve your desired skin goals.

What to Expect During an IPL Session

During an IPL session, you will be seated comfortably, and your optometrist apply eye protection for your treatment. They will use a conductive gel to protect the surface of your eyes and enhance the absorption of light energy.

Then, a handheld applicator will deliver brief pulses of light to the affected area. You may feel a slight warmth or tingling sensation during the treatment, but most patients describe IPL therapy as comfortable.

How Many IPL Treatments Are Needed?

The number of IPL treatments needed will depend on the severity of your condition and your individual response to the therapy. Most patients require a minimum of 4 treatments several weeks apart for optimal results.

After the initial series of treatments, maintenance sessions may be recommended depending on your symptoms and progress.

Close-up of a woman undergoing a slit-lamp exam

Try IPL for Yourself

IPL therapy isn’t only for dry eyes. It’s a powerful and effective treatment in the aesthetics industry to address common skin concerns and improve the appearance of your skin. Whether you want to explore IPL for therapeutic purposes or recapture a youthful look, book a consultation at Bluebird Vision + Wellness today to see if IPL therapy is right for you.

Dr. Cody Jones, O.D. at Bluebird Eye Care in Blackfoot, Idaho.

Written by Dr. Cody Jones

Dr. Jones is a fully licensed Doctor of Optometry (O.D.). He graduated from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia with academic and clinical honors—receiving both Doctor of Optometry and Bachelor of Science degrees. Upon his graduation, Dr. Jones served as an officer and doctor at the Naval Medical Center of San Diego, where he gained valuable experience. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during this service.

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