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Silicon Valley Eye Physicians
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What to Expect Before & After Your IPL Treatment

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Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is an innovative and painless method of reducing dry eye symptoms that relies on pulses of light to liquefy and release oils that have hardened and clogged the meibomian glands in the eyelids. It also reduces eyelid redness and stimulates healthy gland function.

Our eye eye doctors offer convenient hours for all your eye care needs, including dry eye treatment with IPL therapy. So what should you expect when you come in for your treatment?

Take a look below:

Before Coming In For IPL Therapy:

There are a number of steps you should take to ensure your skin is ready for your upcoming IPL treatment.

For between 2 and 3 weeks before the appointment, you should avoid extended sun exposure or other sources of intense UV light. This includes tanning beds. Tanning lotions also shouldn’t be used during this time.

One week before you come into our office for treatment, you should stop use of products that contain any of the following:

  • Retina-A
  • Retinol
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Glycolic/salicylic acids
  • Astringents
  • Vitamin C

If you experience changes with your health history or you begin or discontinue use of certain medications between sessions, please let us know before the next session. This may affect how we perform the upcoming treatments.

The Day of Your Appointment:

On the day of your appointment, you should not wear any creams or make-up on the area to be treated.

We’ll begin by using micellar wipes to clean your face prior to treatment, and take pre-treatment photos for documentation of your progress.

To begin the IPL treatment, a member of our eye care team will place shields over your eyes. This will protect them from the light pulses during treatment. A thin layer of cooling gel will then be applied to the treatment area to keep your skin cool and comfortable.

We will use a small device to administer the pulses of light around the eyelid, which will cause the skin around the eyes to warm slightly, dislodging the buildup of oil in the meibomian glands. During the treatment, you will see bright flashes of light with each pulse, but don’t worry. Your eyes will remain protected throughout!

Once the oil has been loosened up by this process, we will massage your eyelids gently to express the oil from the glands. This should restore normal oil flow in the tear film.

Expect your appointment to take between 45 and 60 minutes.

What To Expect After IPL Therapy:

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For a few weeks after your IPL therapy, your skin will be extra-sensitive. Special care should be taken during this time not to cause damage to the skin. Here are a few tips to ensure the comfort and health of your skin during this time:

  • Your skin may feel slightly sunburned in the hours following treatment. You can use aloe vera or Aquaphor to calm symptoms. If your skin feels itchy, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may help.
  • For the next 24 hours after treatment, you should avoid strenuous activity or intense exercise.
  • Sun spots and age spots may darken and pigmented areas may crust and begin to flake after a few days. Do not pick, rub, scrub, or exfoliate your skin during this time.
  • Your skin may also feel extra sensitive to heat, and may appear red and swollen after treatment. This is normal, and should pass in no more than 3 days. A cold washcloth may be applied to the area to help soothe symptoms, and showers should be cold or warm, not hot, to prevent severe discomfort or pain. Hot tubs and saunas are not allowed during this time.
  • Special care should be taken in the sun. You should try to avoid direct sun exposure to the treatment area for the next 4 weeks, with the first 48 hours being most crucial. You should apply sunblock with SPF 30 or higher daily and wear a hat and sunglasses when outside.
  • For one full week after treatment, you should not use products that contain any of the following:
    • Retina-A
    • Retinol
    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Glycolic/salicylic acids
    • Astringents
    • Vitamin C
  • Make-up can be applied post-treatment as long as the skin is not broken, irritated, or inflamed.

How Long Will It Take To See Results With IPL Therapy?

Our patients usually report improvement in their dry eye symptoms after their first or second treatments. However, we usually recommend you have an initial series of four IPL treatments, performed every month for four months. This is the best way to promote long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye syndrome and meibomian gland dysfunction.

If your dry eye symptoms are particularly severe or chronic, follow-up treatments may be necessary as well.

Want to know more about how IPL therapy can help reduce or eliminate your dry eye symptoms? Contact our eye doctors at today!