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Flashing a Light on Dry Eye

(I-MED Pharma)

Do you have dry eyes? If so, you’re not alone, as approximately 30% of Canadians suffer from dry eye disease.

Are your dry eyes caused by Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)? A significantly higher proportion of dry eye disease patients show signs of evaporative dry eye resulting from MGD, with 86% of qualified patients demonstrating signs of MGD in one clinic-based study,[1] making it a leading cause. Some symptoms associated with MGD include fluctuating vision, burning, irritated, red, and watery eyes, and signs (which can be evaluated by an eye care professional) can include reduced tear break-up time and reduced quantity and/or quality of oil (meibum) in the tear film.[2]

Do you find it difficult to consistently follow your daily management therapies, as recommended by your eye care professional, for discomforting dry eye symptoms? This can be a reality for many dry eye sufferers, which is why finding the right combination of management and in-clinic treatment options for your individual dry eye can be essential for finding the relief you need.

So, how do you solve your dry eye? As with many things, education is key, which in this case includes understanding the disease itself, identifying the factors that may be contributing to its development, and knowing which management and treatment options are best suited to you. For this, finding an eye care professional to diagnose, monitor, and treat your dry eye through the right combination of high-quality products and state-of-the-art dry eye technology is essential to finding long-lasting relief. In the paragraphs below, we’re going to look at how dry eye technology fits into a dry eye care routine, what are the benefits of using in-clinic treatments, and the kind of results you can experience after treatment sessions.

Dry Eye Management

Before getting into the technology, let’s first look at some of the management products which help provide MGD and dry eye relief. This includes a therapeutic eye mask for dry eyes to help with symptoms, daily ocular hygiene cleansers to remove ocular debris and reduce bioburden, preservative-free, viscoadaptive artificial tears to enhance and supplement the natural tear film, and a lubricating eye ointment to protect your eyes while you sleep. Nutrition can also play a role in dry eye disease and getting the right amounts of essential fatty acids is important for overall health. Highly purified and concentrated omega-3 supplements are available to help relieve symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

Now, let’s look at the technology and how it can be used as part of a complete dry eye treatment plan.

IPL Technology

While Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a device used to improve dry eye symptoms, it was not designed for that purpose. Using a light-source with a wavelength spectrum between 500-1200 nm, IPL was originally used in dermatology for the treatment of various skin concerns, including rosacea, acne, and skin lesions,[3] but was first used for dry eye patients beginning in 2002 after a patient with rosacea indicated improvements of dry eye symptoms.[4]

IRPL® Dry Eye Treatment

After this opportune discovery, a new generation of IPL device, the E>Eye, which uses IRPL® (Intense Regulated Pulsed Light) technology, was developed. The E>Eye was designed specifically for periocular application, not dermatological, and it is the only medically certified device for the treatment of dry eyes due to MGD.[3]

The E>Eye is different than conventional IPL in that it delivers multiple homogenously sculpted light pulses in the spectral range of 580 to 1200 nm.[2] The flash associated with IRPL® technology is regulated and divided into sub-pulses, with each sub-pulse managed separately with different durations and light intensities. Due to its new lamp technology, IRPL® makes it possible to achieve neurological stimulation, and the E>Eye IRPL®’s patented air-cooling system allows for more infrared light to be used compared with conventional IPL technologies, making it more effective at improving the function of the Meibomian glands.

For a comparison between IRPL® technology and conventional IPLs, there is a convenient table available.

Studies on IRPL® for Dry Eye Treatment

There are several studies showing the safety and effectiveness of IRPL® technology for the treatment of dry eyes due to MGD.[5] One study on IRPL® showed patient improvements in non-invasive break-up time (NIBUT), an exam that shows where and when the surface of the tear film ruptures; lipid layer thickness (LLT), which is derived from the oils in the Meibomian glands; and tear osmolarity, which is the measure of salt concentration in the tears.[3]

In a recent clinical trial conducted by Dr. Shaun MacInnis, the E>Eye treatment protocol was added to MGD management standard of care, which consisted of using I-DROP® MGD, I-VU® OMEGA-3 PLUS, I-RELIEF™, and I-LID ’N LASH® PLUS daily. At the end of the trial, after the completion of the E>Eye treatment, patients showed significant improvements in signs and symptoms as measured by NIBUT, MG (Meibomian gland) score, and OSDI (ocular surface disease index) score. The trial concluded that the E>Eye stimulated an increase in both the quality and quantity of meibum produced, and that the E>Eye gives consistent results for MGD patients by reducing ocular inflammation, precisely heating the Meibomian glands, and stimulating the parasympathetic trigeminal nerve to improve Meibomian gland function.

Using in-clinic treatments specifically for dry eye, such as the E>Eye with IRPL® technology, produces long-lasting results, and when used in combination with daily management solutions such as artificial tears, ocular hygiene cleansers, nutritional supplements, and dry eye mask, provides both short- and long-term relief for discomforting ocular symptoms, often leading to an improvement in quality of life.

E>Eye treatments are available through eye care professionals or dry eye clinics. Schedule an appointment to see if dry eye treatments are right for you.

[1] Lemp, M. , Crews, L. , Bron, A. , Foulks, G. & Sullivan, B.  (2012). “Distribution of Aqueous-Deficient and Evaporative Dry Eye in a Clinic-Based Patient Cohort.” Cornea 31 (5): 472-478.  doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318225415a.

[2] Craig, J. P., Chen, Y.-H., & Turnbull, P. R. K. (2015). “Prospective trial of intense pulsed light for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction.” Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science56(3), 1965–1970.

[3] Vigo, L., Taroni, L., Bernabei, F., Pellegrini, M., Sebastiani, S., Mercanti, A., … Giannaccare, G. (2019). “Ocular Surface Workup in Patients with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Treated with Intense Regulated Pulsed Light.” Diagnostics (Basel)9(4), 147–.

[4] Jiang, X., Lv, H., Song, H., Zhang, M., Liu, Y., Hu, X., … Wang, W. (2016). “Evaluation of the Safety and Effectiveness of Intense Pulsed Light in the Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.” Journal of Ophthalmology2016, 1910694–1910698.

[5] “Publications, press and clinical studies.” ESW-Vision,