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Photomed Laser Surg. 2015 Jan;33(1):41-6. doi: 10.1089/pho.2014.3819.

Intense pulsed light treatment for dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction; a 3-year retrospective study.

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1 Toyos Clinic , Germantown, Tennessee.



The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical benefits of intense-pulsed-light therapy for the treatment of dry-eye disease caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).


MGD is the leading cause of evaporative dry eye disease. It is currently treated with a range of methods that have been shown to be only somewhat effective, leading to the need for advanced treatment options.


A retrospective noncomparative interventional case series was conducted with 91 patients presenting with severe dry eye syndrome. Treatment included intense-pulsed-light therapy and gland expression at a single outpatient clinic over a 30-month study. Pre/post tear breakup time data were available for a subset of 78 patients. For all patients, a specially developed technique for the treatment of dry eye syndrome was applied as a series of monthly treatments until there was adequate improvement in dry eye syndrome symptoms by physician judgment, or until patient discontinuation.


Primary outcomes included change in tear breakup time, self-reported patient satisfaction, and adverse events. Physician-judged improvement in dry eye tear breakup time was found for 68 of 78 patients (87%) with seven treatment visits and four maintenance visits on average (medians), and 93% of patients reported post-treatment satisfaction with degree of dry eye syndrome symptoms. Adverse events, most typically redness or swelling, were found for 13% of patients. No serious adverse events were found.


Although preliminary, study results of intense-pulsed-light therapy treatment for dry eye syndrome caused by meibomian gland dysfunction are promising. A multisite clinical trial with a larger sample, treatment comparison groups, and randomized controlled trials is currently underway.

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