IPL or intense pulsed light treatments are used to eliminate wrinkles and create beautiful skin. But this technology can also be used to treat dry eye syndrome, a condition that can make life miserable.
"Severe watering, itching, burning, red…"
Robynn Tolboe is describing the discomfort of chronic dry eye syndrome, and she's not alone.
"About 10 to 15 million people will suffer from chronic dry eyes," says Dr. Dave Patel, ophthalmologist.
If you work at a computer, watch out.
"Take for example you're a worker and you're on a computer terminal, quite often, patients will describe the irritation that they feel as they're working and staring at the computer and not getting enough moisture or blinking to coat the surface of their eye."
"Sometimes your eyes are tender and you just want to close them," says Robynn.
"Okay Robynn we're going to be putting some shields on your eyes…"
Thanks to intense pulsed light treatment, there is some relief. IPL is light therapy used to unplug the oil glands in the eye lids that prevent the flow of tears, creating chronic dry eye syndrome.
"You feel that heating sensation? It's almost like a day at the spa!"
A day at the spa -- because this is the same treatment used in spas to reduce the signs of aging.
A thin layer of cooling gel is applied near the eyes, and pulses of light are applied to the upper face and nose.
"Most of the patients, they tolerate this process pretty well. It's the second part of the procedure that's uncomfortable," says Dr. Patel.
After the light therapy, the doctor squeezes the oil glands along the eyelids. Once the glands are clear, the tears begin to flow.
Patients need one treatment a month for four months with at least one follow up visit in six months.
The cost is $500 per treatment. The procedure is being performed at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.