There is a new way to treat dry eyes using intense pulsed light and radiofrequency, but it's not as scary as it sounds.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The National Eye Institute found more than 16 million Americans suffer from itchy, burning, and dry eyes. It's affecting more young people due to an overuse of screens, but not every patient benefits from drops.
Now, there is a new way to treat dry eyes using intense pulsed light and radiofrequency and it's not as scary as it sounds.
It looks like a facial.
"They put a gel on you, and it's warm and it's really relaxing," said Neenet Hairapetian of Glendale, who's currently getting the new therapy to fight dry eye syndrome. "I'm on my phone all the time for work."
For Hairapetian, dry eyes constantly lead to her getting styes.
She's tried artificial tears and antibiotics, but nothing has worked. Studies show we blink up to 66% less when starting at screens and glands in our upper and lower lids release the much-needed oils our corneas need.
"The oils are actually made by the meibomian glands that are within our eyelids. So if they're not being released by every single blink that we have, then that's when we get meibomian gland dysfunction, " said Optometrist Dr. Talin Amadian with Woodley Optometry in Encino.
She is the first in California to offer a device called Envision, which delivers radio frequency and/or intense pulsed light energy depending on what a patient needs.
"IPL is targeted towards inflammation, so when we do have blockages in the meibomian glands, we do have an inflammatory component as well," said Amadian. "So the light is actually targeting the inflammation that is around the eyelids and then radiofrequency allows us to apply heat at an optimal temperature."
The cost of IPL and radiofrequency combined is about $750 per treatment. Amadian recommends four treatments for maximum benefits.
It's not covered by insurance, but for patients who've tried every type of therapy, it's worth it.
"It gives me peace of mind that I'm not just going to wake up and have any styes," said Hairapetian.
Amadian said she's seeing results that last 14 to 18 months.
The best advice for dry eyes is to take breaks from screens every 20 minutes, ask for recommendations on artificial tears and remember to blink.