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My Experience With IPL

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  • My Experience With IPL

    Hello all,

    I haven't posted much on this site...I'm more of an observer. A few months ago I started azasite, which appeared to work instantly on my eye symptoms, and for a month I was probably 65% better, which is amazing because prior to that I was in terrible pain almost constantly. Unfortunately, the symptoms began to come back. The only upside was that I had pushed through my chronic depression and was no longer a horrible mess about my situation. Because the pain was not subsiding, I finally decided to get IPL with Dr Hahn at Dupage Opthomology in the Chicago area, which is where I now live. I got it on October 19th, and it was 300$ (he gives a discount for the first session--all the others will cost 400$).

    A little bit of background on me--I have had eye pain for several years, slowly getting worse. I wore contacts since I was 12 or 13. I had an eye infection in 2007, and after that I had a hard time wearing contacts, so I got lasik in Dec 2007. A year later I went to Iraq which exacerbated my symptoms, and here I am today. I have good aqueous tear production and a low TBUT. My eye site is technically excellent, it's either 20/25 or 20/20, but because of the dryness it's very blurred. I have permanent plugs in my lowers, I've been on restasis for almost a year, have tried doxy, steriods, warm compresses, every eye drop on the market, upper plugs, omega 3s, gluten-free diet, very healthy lifestyle, etc. The azasite pooping out was the last straw so I decided to go for the IPL and risk the financial loss.

    I liked Dr Hahn. I was in the office for an hour or two and we talked quite a bit. He said my symptoms--constant burning, morning dry eye, occasional grittiness, etc--are consistent with MGD. He also examined my eyes and eyelids and said I had mild rosacea, which I always thought I had. Because my skin is so pale, a Fitzgerald 1, I was a perfect for the procedure.

    The actual procedure was terrifying! I've done a lot of research and I've seen the pictures and horror stories of IPL gone wrong. In fact I brought all of this up to Dr. Hahn, and he helped calm my fears. He was trained by Dr. Toyos himself and he's had a great deal of experience, and he understands the risks.

    First he put these little white things over my eyes. He spread a gel-like substance across my cheeks and nose and under my eyes. Then he began zapping away. I definitely wasn't expecting it, and I flinched quite a bit. I wouldn't say the zapping was very painful, it's just that I kept picturing myself leaving the office blind or with deformed eyes or something. I'm kind of an anxious person He went across my face once, then upped the setting and zapped harder the second time around. He says he does that to get more of a response in the treatment.

    After that came the very painful part. He took the white coverings off my eyes and began squeezing my eyelids between two q-tips to get the oil out. He had a very hard time getting it out of my eye because my oil was thick like toothpaste. He finally got it going though.

    I felt crummy afterwards--He warned me that I would though. I wouldn't recommend scheduling a hot date or an important meeting after getting this procedure done. My eyes were very sore and red afterwards.

    My eyes burned the next day like they always do, and a week after that they were still hurting just as bad. I had to pray my anxiety away, as I was worrying that this would be yet another thing that wouldn't work. About ten days after the procedure, I felt better. The next day, too. It's been 3 weeks and I have been feeling very good. My eyes have not been much of a problem like they normally are. I feel that's saying a lot, too, considering I haven't been taking perfect care of my eyes (I've been staying up late, having sugar, drinking more alcohol than I usually do, working on the computer a lot, and I've re-started taking my adderall which normally dries me out). Dr. Hahn instructed me to continue doing lots of warm compresses to keep the oil working, which I have been diligent about--once or twice a day, three minutes of heat on the eyes.

    The burning was intense and constant 3 weeks ago. Today, I still have burning, but it's not as intense, and it's much less frequent, to the point where I forget about it. My eye site is still blurry, I'm hoping it will eventually get better. If the rest of my life was like this, I can say I'd be very content.

    I'm scared to post this because I always feel like I'm going to jinx myself, but I'm feeling good and very hopeful and I want to share my experience. I myself have been wishing for more posts from others who have had this done, as I've been wondering how long different people took to get relief. I will post after each session I have to let everyone know about my progress.

    If anyone has any questions, please ask! I get online several times a week and I want to help others, because I know how awful eye pain is. Also if anyone has any comments or suggestions, please offer them up.

    Thanks a bunch,
    Last edited by Desi; 10-Nov-2011, 13:22. Reason: tags

  • #2
    Also, I want to warn others considering this procedure to please research it, and to exhaust other options first. If you've seen pictures of the girl who got IPL done incorrectly, you will see that the black part of her eye melted into the colored part--terrifying. Not to mention she will be in pain for the rest of her life. So make sure you get a good doctor who knows what he's doing and uses safety measures! Also, this procedure is pricey and insurance doesn't cover it--I will be paying 1500$ all together, not to mention if I need touch-ups later in life. Just be careful is all.


    • #3
      Hey Desi,

      Glad to hear you're doing better! I too had a couple of IPL sessions and experienced some relief, but they didn't treat the upper lids which I feel are half of my problem.

      Have you considered Lipiflow? That's my latest obsession.



      • #4
        I haven't considered it, but maybe if I need it after ipl. Have you tried lipiflow yet? They treat the uppers?


        • #5
          Dear Desi,

          I have not had Lipiflow yet, no. It is not in my area unfortunately (Florida) and I just don't want to have to buy a plane ticket to get it done. I will wait patiently until it comes to me (or try to wait!).

          Yes, Lipiflow treats the uppers and lowers. No hideous extraction with a q-tip either! If you want, go to YouTube and type in "Lipiflow" and you'll find a 12 minute video on it.



          • #6
            ANy update on how you are feeling?

            I am going for a consultation with Dr. Hahn next wednesday. I'm pretty much the same boat as you. Just wondering if you are still getting some relief and when you will be going back.


            • #7
              Sorry for taking so long to respond back! Did you end up getting the IPL with Dr Hahn? I ended up really liking him.

              So here is my update, folks:

              I had my fourth IPL session a couple weeks ago. Dr. Hahn gave it to me for free, he says he often gives the fourth session for free to his patients because he wants to make sure they get a fourth treatment. So that was nice!

              Anyway, I am doing a million times better. I honestly didn't have too much faith that IPL would help me since EVERYTHING else failed. But it has. I hardly ever use eyedrops anymore, I've stopped restasis. The only thing I do now is a hot compress and massage once a day to keep things going.

              My symptoms are mostly gone. My eyes are still sensitive, but they do not burn anymore. Before the pain was constant and often debilitating. zI thought about my eyes constantly because of the pain. Now I hardly ever notice my eyes anymore, except to thank God that I have them back.

              My eyes are still a little red, but no more than the average person, and honestly I don't care so long as the pain is gone. People used to constantly comment on my eyes being red and no one has said a thing to me in months.

              I am feeling great and hoping the future is bright!


              • #8
                Wow, thats impressive to hear and a little bit surprising that you are getting such relief. Congrats. I've had one treatment done about three weeks ago and am going for the second one on Friday. I am not sure how much it will help me because Dr. Hahn said my oil flow was pretty good to begin with, but that I had a significant amount of "debris" sitting on top of my glands. However, I do have significant inflammation so hopefully that treatment aspect of the IPL will benefit me even if my oil flow isn't terrible. I have noticed my lids are a lot cleaner since the treatment and I no longer see any of the "white caps" on top of my glands. After the treatment, my eyes actually felt worse for a couple weeks and my lid margins were more red than normal, I think due to the procedure. Now they are back to normal, and may be feeling a little bit better, but I am not quite sure. I am hoping I get more improvement after more treatments, and I'd be happy with just a small improvement.

                Dr. Hahn left the practice, so hopefully his replacement knows what he is doing. Will you be going back every several months to continue having treatments?

                I will post updates on my results after more treatments.


                • #9
                  My eyes felt pretty wful after the first treatment as well. It took probably a good six weeks before my improvement was significant. Yeah, I'm sad that dr. Hahn is leaving, he says his replacement was trained the same as him and is experienced so I'm hopeful. I dont have any more treatments planned, but I'm assuming I will need them once a year at least to keep everything working well. I hope you start feeling better!!!


                  • #10
                    Please keep posting on how you are doing. I'm going to be starting this soon, and as Desi said, I have great reservations. Nothing has really been of much help for me.


                    • #11
                      Please post updates on progress

                      Hi.....Grant,I look forward to the progress you are making with the IPL treatments. I started IPL this week at the same practice and right now still have very sore eyes. I know the benefit comes over time, so it's so helpful to hear how others do with this. Thanks for posting....maybe we will be as lucky as Desi.


                      • #12
                        My friend is feeling irritation in his eyes for last three months. He has taken medicines and eye drops, but medication doesn’t provide much benefit. Should he start IPL Laser treatment to resolve this problem?


                        • #13
                          I had IPL about a week ago at Johns Hopkins. I have Sjogrens as well as ocular rosacea. I have tried everything out there, so when IPL was offered I decided to give it a try. Right after the treatment, (which also involved squeezing my eyelids with clamps to get the meibomian glands cleared out) my eyes were very gritty and red. They had me use a steroid/antibiotic eye drop for 4 days. My eyes stayed pretty red and irritated up until today. They are definitely less red and feeling a little better I go back in 3 weeks to be re-evaluated and potentially have another treatment. Since I have both aqueous tear deficiency as well as evaporative eye disease I know I will have less relief than some. Up until this point I have been in so much pain that I am willing to do anything that might help even just a little. My fingers are crossed that I continue to get at least a little relief with this.

                          Past treatments include Azasite, oral azithromycin (I'm allergic to tetracyclines), Restasis, every preservative free eye drop on the market, warm wash cloths, autologous serum tears (I think these have been the single most helpful thing so far for my aqueous tear deficiency) Omega fatty acid supplements, home humidification system, tacrolimus ointment for my inflamed lids.

                          I am also taking hydroxychloroquine and leflunamide for my Sjogrens. When I started the hydroxychloroquine for my Sjogrens fatigue and arthritis my eyes seemed to get better after a couple of months. That lasted for about 6 months and they have been worse than ever since then.

                          Again, really hoping that IPL helps as I have truly exhausted my options


                          • #14
                            Keep us posted I also have Sjogrens and am scheduled to start this treatment in May so I want to know how it goes for others. I am told that the treatment schedule is for 4 treatments. Did they do a tear osmolarity assessment first. I am supposed to have that done the first day.


                            • #15
                              Adding my ipl experience. I've had three sessions now and not felt any difference though my tbut has gone from about 3 to 6. My oil started off a bit thick and cloudy with some blocked glands and this doesn't seem to have changed. I have one more session booked in April and a review then but so far this doesn't seem like a miracle cure for me. I do have aqueous problems too though and maybe some corneal neuropathy which might be why I feel no better.