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IPL vs. Radiofrequency for Dry Eye

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Dry eye disease is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. While it can be irritating, uncomfortable, and even painful at times, there is good news! Through forms of dry eye therapy like intense pulsed light (IPL) or radiofrequency (RF), you can find relief with the help of your optometrist. But are these treatments the same?

While IPL uses bursts of light to stimulate an area near the eye, radiofrequency uses radio waves to heat tissue under the skin. These treatments can each provide relief from dry eye, but you can experience even better results when the 2 are combined. The Eye Gallery uses the iProX from MDelite to combine the power of IPL and RF in our dry eye treatments.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye disease is caused by a problem with your tear production, leaving your eyes vulnerable and exposed to the outside air. It can feel like there’s sand trapped between your eyelid and eyeball, or like a burning and dry sensation in your eye. It often causes:

  • Redness
  • Irritation and inflammation
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain
  • Excessive eye watering
  • Light sensitivity
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How Is Dry Eye Disease Treated?

When treating dry eye disease, optometrists usually prefer to address the root cause of the problem. Dry eye is caused by a problem with your tear production itself, so they aim to diagnose what’s causing this issue. Then, they can tailor an effective approach to your unique needs.

This may involve:

  • Lifestyle changes, like reducing screen time or improving your indoor air quality
  • Taking oral medication
  • Using eye drops

However, these methods don’t always work for everyone. Sometimes, dry eye disease can develop due to a problem with the meibomian glands—the glands that produce the oils in your tears that prevent them from evaporating too quickly.

When there’s a problem with the meibomian glands, more advanced treatment options like IPL or radiofrequency may be considered. These treatments aim to improve the function of the meibomian glands by stimulating them and breaking up any blockages, allowing oils to reach your tears and protect your eyes as they should.

What Is IPL?

IPL is a treatment method that uses bursts of light energy to treat several skin conditions. However, it’s also been found to be effective in treating dry eye disease. These pulses of light can target and break down the blockages in the meibomian glands, allowing them to produce and release more oil into the tears. This helps to improve tear film stability and reduce dry eye symptoms.

IPL treatment involves applying light pulses to the skin around the eyes using a handheld device. It’s typically done in several 15-minute sessions spaced out a month apart or so.

What Is Radiofrequency Treatment?

Radiofrequency treatment uses energy waves to heat the tissue under the skin. This heat stimulates the body’s natural healing process, promoting collagen production and improving blood flow. When applied to the eyelids, radiofrequency can help to unblock the meibomian glands and improve tear production.

Like IPL, radiofrequency treatment is usually done in several sessions. Each session takes about 30 minutes and involves applying a special probe to the skin around the eyes. 

Is IPL or Radiofrequency Better?

Both IPL and radiofrequency treatments offer significant benefits for dry eye. 

  • They use a noninvasive approach
  • They address the root cause of the condition, rather than treat the symptoms themselves
  • They can stabilize the tear film
  • They have minimal, if any, side effects

IPL treatment is known for its ability to break down gland blockages effectively, while radiofrequency is praised for its boost to the body’s natural healing process. But they both target a similar area. This means that, in the end, choosing between the 2 often comes down to individual needs and preferences.

Fortunately, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Both treatments can be done at the same time with the iProX by MDelite, making it possible to reap the benefits of IPL and radiofrequency simultaneously!

How Does the iProX Work?

The iProX is an innovative device designed to deliver both IPL and radiofrequency treatments at the same time. This dual approach allows for a more comprehensive treatment of dry eye disease since it allows your optometrist to address problems in the meibomian glands and surrounding tissue simultaneously.

During an iProX treatment session, you may feel a warm sensation as the device delivers light pulses and radio waves to the eyelids. This is generally quite comfortable and requires no downtime to recover afterward. While you may notice an improvement in your symptoms after just 1 treatment, multiple sessions are often recommended for optimal results.

Explore Your Options for Dry Eye Therapy

At the end of the day, both IPL and radiofrequency treatments offer a convenient solution for treating dry eye disease. They provide a targeted approach to improve the function of the meibomian glands, addressing a common root cause of dry eye.

But why choose 1 when you can have both? Come visit us at The Eye Gallery to try iProX treatment. Book an appointment with us today to find out if this treatment could work for you.

Written by Dr. Megan Baldwin

As a Kansas native (born and raised in Kingman), Dr. Baldwin is thrilled to practice what she loves so close to home. She can’t imagine anything better than to care for her community and build strong ties with new friends and colleagues.

When She’s not in the office caring for her patients, Dr. Baldwin enjoys making memories with her husband, Aaron, and two sweet kids, Parker and Stella! You’ll often find her playing piano, hosting her friends and family in her home, or out for a run. Dr. Baldwin and her husband enjoy traveling to warm places and recently became open-water scuba diver certified!

She chose eye care as her career because Dr. Baldwin has always wanted to help people. The quality of care she provides is incredibly important to her. In an age where doctors spend just a few minutes with their patients, she is proud to give her patients the time and diligence they deserve. More than to simply “see” you, Dr. Baldwin wants to learn more about you and how she can best serve your needs. Your relationship matters.

Dr. Baldwin invites you to make an appointment for yourself or your children, whether you have an eye concern or are simply seeking an updated corrective lens prescription. She will always do her best to provide you the best eye care available anywhere in Wichita.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Member, Kansas Optometric Association (KOA)
  • Member, American Optometric Association (AOA)
  • Member, Business Networking International (BNI)


  • Bachelor of Science (chemistry) – Bethel College, 2007
  • Doctor of Optometry – Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry, 2011
    • Graduated Magna Cum Laude
    • Member of the Beta Sigma Kappa honor society
    • Presented with “Outstanding Clinician in Ocular Disease” award
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