Intense pulsed light appears effective for dry eye
This multicenter controlled trial assessed the efficacy of intense pulsed light (IPL) for the treatment of dry eye.

This study was performed in China. Researchers randomized 120 subjects with dry eye due to meibomian gland dysfunction to either IPL or warm compress followed by manual meibomian expression; there was no placebo arm. Participants received 3 interventions at 3-week intervals. Participants and physicians were not masked to treatment. The primary outcome measure was changed in tear break-up time (TBUT).

As per most dry eye studies, most participants (80%) were female. The average age of participants was 42 years, which is younger than many other dry eye studies.

Subjects in both arms experienced improvements in symptoms (as measured by the SPEED questionnaire) and a variety of dry eye disease signs including TBUT, meibomian glands yielding secretion scores, and corneal staining. TBUT improved by 2.3 and 0.5 seconds in the IPL and control arms, respectively.

As with many dry eye studies, there are improvements in both study arms. While the 1.8-second difference in TBUT improvement in the IPL arm is definitively statistically significant, clinicians and patients must decide if this difference is clinically significant.