Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL)

What does the treatment consist of?

Intensed pulse light (IPL) therapy is a treatment for posterior bleharitis or Meibomian gland dysfunction.

A polychormatic light generated produces homogenous light pulses, which aim to stimlate the Meibomian glands of the eyelids. These glands, which release lipids, are an important part of the lacrimal film. When these glands do not work properly, tears evaporate quickly and cause symptoms of dry eye. 

When is this treatment indicated?

An ophthalmologist specialising in dry eye will first undertake a series of tests to check the condition of the Meibomian glands, including the break-up time of the lacrimal film and a meibography.

If the glands are affected and the patient presents symptoms despite conventional treatment, intense pulsed light therapy is recommended to stimulate the proper functioning of the Meibomian glands.

At least three treatment sessions might be needed and in the worst of cases, a fourth session may be required. This treatment is especially effective for patients with rosacea. 

How is it performed?

Intense pulsed light therapy is a treatment performed in the doctor's office and lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. The patient lies back face up in a reclining chair.

The skin colour is checked and the machine is adjusted to the right intensity depending on the the patient's skin colour. You are advised not to put on make up or face creams before the procedure. The skin undergoes a deep clean with micellar water. 

Any dark spots, freckles or moles are covered with stickers or pencil marks, and protective glasses are worn. A thick layer of cold gel is applied to both sides of the face, from the nose to the sinuses. 

Five light pulses are applied on each side of the face, and the patient must keep their eyes closed for each pulse. The gel is removed from the face, which is cleaned once again with micellar water and a high factor sun cream is applied to the treated area. You are advised to avoid sun exposure and use sun cream on the treated area for a week after the treatment.

Our treatment protocol involves sequential sessions: day 1, day 15, day 45 and if a fourth session is required then day 75.


A subjective improvement in the symptoms can be seen from the second and third session onward. Patients notice less redness, a reduced sensation of grit and foreign body, more comfort when using screens or computers and less need to apply artificial tears. 

After the last session of intense pulsed light therapy, the image tests are repeated such as the tear break-up time. Patients show an improvement in their meibograpy, even if there is a severe Meibomian gland atrophy.

Possible risks

You may notice a burning sensation during the treatment, but it is very uncommon and depends on the each individual's pain threshold. The treated area may remain red for a few days.

Professionals who perform this treatment

Frequently asked questions