Because studies have concluded that 80 to 90 percent of patients with facial rosacea also have ocular rosacea, it should come as no surprise that patients experienced an improvement in symptoms of dry eye after IPL treatment for their facial rosacea.2 It appears that breaking up the inflammatory cycle may be utilized for both rosacea as well as dry eye.
The mechanism of action for IPL is to absorb light filtered to certain wavelengths into selective target tissues. IPL shares similarities with laser treatments in that it uses light to heat and destroy its targets—unlike lasers that use a single wavelength (color) of light which typically matches only one chromophore, and hence only one condition. IPL uses a broad spectrum which when used with filters allows it to convert light into heat. This conversion can then be used against several conditions.
IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, meaning it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing in which both the dermis and epidermis are injured to produce a more noticeable overall outcome.
In the treatment of inflammation, the laser targets oxyhemoglobin, which is present in the walls of telangiectactic blood vessels, to induce thrombosis. These superficial leaky blood vessels release inflammatory mediators that are often the impetus for inflammatory-related conditions, including dry eye.
Dermatologists tend to target the oxyhemoglobin of the skin by starving the glands of the inflammatory mediators that are needed to perpetuate the inflammatory cascade. Targeting the eyelids and lid margins for thrombosis of these vessels may decrease the symptoms of inflammatory dry eye.