OasisEye Specialists

Intense Regulated Pulse Light

What is IRPL?

Eye doctors usually prescribe artificial tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops to patients to relieve and reduce inflammation along eyelid margins and ocular surface. Home remedies include lubricating eye drops, warm compress on eyelid margins and proper eyelid hygiene. However, most patients are not able to perform this effectively on their own and recurrence can happen.

Intense Regulated Pulse Light (IRPL) therapy is one of the latest treatments for dry eyes. It’s particularly effective in treating Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), the most common cause of chronic dry eyes.

IRPL targets all aspects of MGD by:

  • Improving meibomian gland function
  • Unclogging meibomian glands
  • Reducing inflammation of the meibomian glands
  • Improving tear film quality and stability by restoring the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film


Risk factor & Causes

The most common cause is growing older. Other common causes include:

  • Diabetes
  • Trauma (any significant impact to the eye or head)
  • Certain medication (such as steroids)
  • Eye surgery for other conditions
  • Other possible causes include: UV exposure, smoking & a lack of vitamins

How does IRPL work?

It treats dry eyes by improving the function of the meibomian (oil) glands of the eyelids. Meibomian glands that are not functioning properly can eventually lead to gland dropout (loss) or atrophy, which leads to long-term and severe dry eye symptoms. When meibomian glands don’t secrete enough oil onto the eye, tears evaporate too quickly, leading to a cycle of inflammation.

This leads to dry eye symptoms such as burning sensation, stinging, irritation, tearing, and redness. By restoring gland function, IRPL can make sure your eyes have the proper hydration.

IRPL produces perfectly calibrated light pulses that target the meibomian glands. These light pulses result in a neurological stimulation of the parasympathetic nerve which supplies the meibomian glands.

This neurological stimulation helps to:

  • Regenerate the meibomian glands
  • Improve the quality of meibomian gland secretions
  • Stabilize the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film 

The regulated light pulses from IRPL help break the vicious cycle of inflammation, leading to a long-term improvement of dry eye symptoms. It also helps prevent further atrophy of the meibomian glands.

Steps and Procedures

The treatment protocol is short and efficient, with three to four treatments depending on the severity of the condition:
Treatment #1: Day 1
Treatment #2: (2 weeks later): Day 15
Treatment #3: (30 days later): Day 45
Treatment #4: (if needed, 30 days later): Day 75

What results should I expect?

Most patients feel an improvement within the first day after the treatment. The nerve stimulation from IRPL helps the meibomian glands function normally within a few hours. The effects of the treatments are cumulative, which is why it is important to follow the treatment protocol.

The results can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, depending on your eyes. If your symptoms do start to come back, your ophthalmologist will likely recommend more sessions.

For long term results, you should have at least 3 treatment sessions and follow any recommendations from your ophthalmologist.