IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and it is become more and more popular for dry eye therapy. The technology developed for the dry eye protocol is a highly sophisticated technology. Because the machine itself is extremely costly for physicians to purchase (typically over $75,000) and also very expensive to maintain, the resulting cost of IPL to the patient is also high. An ophthalmology office may charge anywhere from $350 to $600 per session. Typically patients with dry eye will need on average 5 sessions. This cost depends on which machine they are using, the geographic location of the office, as well as if a patient purchases a package of sessions or an individual session. Packages typically have better pricing in most ophthalmology clinics.
Does Insurance Cover IPL For Dry Eyes
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for dry eye disease treatment is not covered by insurance and therefore, patients must pay for it out of pocket. It is possible that if a patient has a healthcare flex spending account that they may be able to use their flex spending towards this treatment. Offices may also offer discounts for packages purchased together.
Is IPL Worth It For Dry Eye Disease?
This is a decision that patients must make for themselves. Patients who suffer from chronic dry eye can have a severely decreased quality of life. It can impact their activities of daily living including working, and enjoying recreational activities. Since IPL can help your eyelids and eyelid glands function better, it is helping to solve the dry eye problem at the root. Patients who are spending a lot of time and money treating their dry eye may benefit greatly. Decreased use of artificial tears may also be a cost benefit to patients who opt to have IPL for dry eye.
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The initial series of treatments can cost around $1400 and this is for about 4 to 5 treatments. After this initial series of treatments, the patient will usually have a maintenance treatment of 1 or 2 treatments per year depending on their symptoms. For patients who are using multiple eye drops a day for their dry eye, IPL may be more convenient and even more cost-effective long term.
This dry eye treatment is best suited for patients who have already tried dry eye drops, punctal plugs, and night time gel and have not had enough improvement. It may also be a good choice for patients with glaucoma who are on multiple eye medications for their glaucoma. Patients with glaucoma tend to have severe dry eye from their glaucoma medications and non eye drop treatment options for dry eye can be helpful in this population.
IPL Dry Eye Treatment Cost: Take Home Points
Though IPL is an expensive treatment option, it certainly may be worth it over a longer period of time. Improved quality of life and reduced usage of eye drops, both over the counter, and prescription eye drops, can be a result of treating dry eye using IPL. If you only have mild dry eye and the use of artificial tears alleviates your dry eye symptoms, IPL may not be the best investment for you. For patients with puffy lids from eyelid gland dysfunction, IPL may help to improve this appearance and also improve dry eye symptoms.