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Dry Eye Clinic

IPL (Intense Pulse Light)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is an exciting new treatment available at the Adelaide branch of Innovative Eye Care used to treat dry eye disease caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a condition that is notoriously difficult to manage.1 Innovative Eye Care was the first optometry clinic to have access to an IPL for MGD treatment in South Australia.

What is involved in the treatment?

An initial consultation is required before IPL treatment to confirm the diagnosis of MGD, to check for other ocular disease, and to gather baseline data about how your eyes are functioning. Some patients may be unsuitable for IPL treatment due to skin type, general health conditions or medications2, so it’s important to consult your optometrist first.

Four IPL treatments are recommended to best manage your MGD. These are performed at intervals of day 1, day 15, day 45 and day 75. IPL ​single ​sessions amount to ​$200 ​(or a concession ​discount of $25 ​per ​single ​session). Each session takes about 15 minutes. Your optometrist will apply protective goggles over your eyes and hydrogel on the skin below the eye. A series of flashes are applied under the lower eyelid. The IPL device generates a painless polychromatic pulsed light, so no needles or injections are required.1 Following this, another set of goggles will be placed over your eyes for a Blephasteam treatment. Your optometrist will afterwards see you to review your progress and attend to any questions or concerns you might have.

What can I expect?

The IPL stimulation prompts the meibomian glands to return to normal function within a few hours following the treatment. The effect is cumulative, so the improvement will last for about two weeks after the first treatment, four weeks after the second one, and so on. Marked improvement in symptoms and reduced need for eye drops is generally noticed after three treatments.3 A repeat treatment course may be required at a later time if your symptoms return despite ongoing management with other MGD treatments.

How does IPL treatment work?

While the mechanism for how IPL treats MGD is not yet fully understood, it is thought to be related to a decreased release of inflammatory mediators from nearby blood-vessels, and decreased overgrowth of bacteria around the lid area.1 Recent research into the efficacy of IPL for MGD has shown improvements in tear film stability and a reduction in dry eye symptoms following the treatment.1,3,4


  1. Giannaccare G, Taroni L, Senni C, Scorcia V. (2019). Intense Pulsed Light Therapy In The Treatment Of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: Current Perspectives. Clinical Optometry. 11(1), 113-126. doi:10.2147/opto.s217639
  2. Cote, S., Zhang, A. C., Ahmadzai, V., Maleken, A., Li, C., Oppedisano, J., Downie, L. E. (2020). Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd013559 
  3. Yin, Y., Liu, N., Gong, L., & Song, N. (2017). Changes in the Meibomian Gland After Exposure to Intense Pulsed Light in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) Patients. Current Eye Research. 43(3), 308–313. doi:10.1080/02713683.2017.1406525 
  4. Dell, S. J., Gaster, R. N., Barbarino, S. C., & Cunningham, D. (2017). Prospective evaluation of intense pulsed light and meibomian gland expression efficacy on relieving signs and symptoms of dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction. Clinical Ophthalmology. 11(1), 817–827. doi:10.2147/opth.s130706