Home » Eye health » Light is the Answer: The effective treatment for Dry Eyes

Dr Samer Hamada
MD, MSc, DO(Hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth, FEBO

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon (Adults and Children)
Cornea, Cataract, External Eye Disease, and Refractive Surgery in Children and Adults

Light therapy battles inflammation, the root cause of Dry Eye Disease. A therapy concept commonly used in dermatology has been shown to be a successful treatment for dry eye disease.

Dry eye disease can be a debilitating condition that can have an impact on lifestyle and everyday activities.

Itchy eyes, redness, a gritty burning sensation and inflammation are all common symptoms. While some sufferers turn to eye drops for relief, ophthalmologists fear that approach only offers short-term relief rather than tackling the deeper causes.

Consultant ophthalmologist Dr Samer Hamada notes the condition is on the increase, particularly with people having spent more time in front of computer screens during COVID lockdowns.

Eye surface inflammation

The disease is an ongoing eye surface inflammation where the environment, hormones, eye strain from extended screen use, or wearing contact lenses, can be factors. It may affect up to 50% of the population, though many could be asymptomatic or misdiagnosed as having an allergy.

Dr Hamada, who has a specialist interest in eye surface disease and works in the NHS and private practice, says there is an increased global interest in dry eye disease with the focus shifting towards treating the inflammation and causes, rather tackling symptoms with eye drops.

The condition occurs when the meibomian glands around each eye, which oil, water and mucus to lubricate the eye surface, become blocked or stop producing the right quality and quantity of oil. This meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) leads to inflammation and dry eye disease.

Dry eye treatment

Intense pulsed light (IPL) technology, already used for dermatological and facial rejuvenation treatments, is being shown to be an effective dry eye treatment.

Dr Hamada, who uses the system, explains that the process sees intense light passed across the bottom eyelids and the abnormal blood vessels, which are active in the inflamed glands, to reduce inflammation and improve gland function.

This life changing durable treatment, generally given over four 10-minute sessions two weeks apart with a top-up session after 6-12 months, can also help rosacea, a common skin condition that causes visible blood vessels on the face.

Early management

Patients who find their daily life affected by the condition often turn to IPL as a last resort, but Dr Hamada suggests it should be considered much sooner.

“The treatment is life-changing and can make a big difference to a patient’s life. Early management leads to a better outcome because the longer you leave inflammation in the eye, the more damage you have” he says.

Lumenis IPL is an FDA and CE approved device specifically for the treatment of MGD in people aged over 18. For more information please visit information.lumenis.com/optima-ipl-and-dry-eye-treatment

Next article