Patients with dry, itchy, and red eyes are initially shocked—and then relieved—when Dr. Mila Ioussifova tells them these six magical words: “You can ditch the eye drops.”
While lubricating eye drops can help temporarily relieve the irritating symptoms of ocular surface disease—more commonly referred to as dry eye disease—they don’t provide a permanent solution. Instead, they often just mask the symptoms and prolong the disease.
That’s why Dr. Mila has devoted her optometry practice at South Waterfront Eye Care to studying the most effective, cutting- edge treatments for dry eye disease, such as Intense Pulsed Light TherapyTM, Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation, TrueTear®, and BlephEx®. Learn more about these drug-free, drop- free treatments from the dry eye expert herself, Dr. Mila.
Q: Tell us about Intense Pulsed LightTM (IPL) therapy.
A: You might have heard of IPL before since it’s been used in dermatology to treat skin conditions for quite some time. Because we now understand that inflammatory skin diseases can cause ocular problems, optometrists and ophthalmologists are using IPL to treat dry eye disease too. We are the only optometry office in Portland though that uses Lumenis® Optima IPL, a top-of-the-line therapy designed to specifically address dry eye disease.
Q: So how does IPL work?
A: Patients come into the office for 15 to 20 minutes once a month for four months to receive this noninvasive, FDA-cleared procedure that uses light pulses to heat and photocoagulate abnormal vessels on the face and around the eyes that are directly responsible for eyelid inflammation.
Q: Who should get IPL treatment?
A: IPL treatment is especially helpful for those with dermatologic conditions like rosacea (a common, yet under-diagnosed inflammatory skin condition) since an estimated 80 percent of rosacea patients have dry eye disease. In one recent study that examined the effectiveness of IPL treatment for those with ocular rosacea, 100 percent of the patients showed significant improvements of their symptoms.
Q: What are the benefits of using IPL?
A: My patients who have completed their IPL treatments wind up not needing to use anti-inflammatory or lubricating eye drops because, with IPL therapy, we are really getting rid of the exact source of the dry eye problem instead of just putting a Band-Aid on it. One of the other perks that patients tell me all the time is that their skin looks great! IPL therapy has collagen-boosting effects that make the skin look tighter and rejuvenated.
Q: What other dry eye disease treatments do you provide?
A: Because dry eye is a multifactorial disease, every patient’s treatment is different.
Those using artificial eye drops anywhere from 5 to 10 times a day can benefit tremendously from TrueTear, an at-home treatment that uses neurostimulation to jump-start the patient’s own creation of natural tears. We also offer Lipiflow— thermal pulsation treating meibomian gland dysfunction—and BlephEx, an in- office procedure best suited for patients with rosacea and chronic blepharitis that removes thickened skin along the eyelid margins and bad bacteria.
Q: Do you offer any other eye care services besides dry eye treatment?
A: Yes, at South Waterfront Eye Care, our focus is dry eye disease treatments, but we are committed to providing comprehensive eye care services—including eye exams, management of medical ocular conditions, eyewear fittings, co-management of LASIK, contact lenses, and specialty lens fittings— so that your eyes can flourish both inside and out.