Sam Looney developed long-standing eye issues over the years. Due to having dry eyes, at night time she would notice big streaks in the headlights of cars she’d pass while driving.
“There was this burning sensation, and dull, achy pain. And it would get worse throughout the day,” Looney said. “And usually—when it was more mild—if I blinked a lot, it would get better. But toward the end, after symptoms started getting worse, even blinking wasn't improving my comfort.”
After having thyroid surgery in October 2020, Looney’s eyes became worse and she experienced more burning, aching, itching and blurriness. At first, she thought her prescription changed and decided to check in with her optometrist Sarah Nigh-Bruner, O.D. at Ohio Eye Associates.
Bruner worked closely with Looney and evaluated her dry eye. They tried artificial tears up to every hour daily, steroid drops, warm compresses and lid scrubs. However, none of those remedies helped improve Looney’s eyes.
“After a certain point and dealing with it and doing all the therapies and treatments at home and not seeing any improvement, you do get to a point where you're almost desperate to try anything to fix it,” Looney said. “It's very uncomfortable, and it does affect your vision and daily life.”
Bruner had one more suggestion under her sleeve and recommended intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment.
“When the IPL became available (at Ohio Eye Associates), we decided to give it a shot, and it really worked wonders,” Looney said. “It wasn't uncomfortable. It just felt like heat on my skin, but nothing intolerable. It's pretty comfortable and very, very quick.”
IPL’s most common for cosmetic purposes, however in the past 20 years it’s been used for dry eye relief and serves as an alternative to using eye drops.
“Artificial tears, warm compresses and other drops are more of a maintenance therapy,” said ophthalmologist Krysta Goslin, M.D. at Ohio Eye Associates. “There are few things utilized to treat the underlying cause (of dry eye), most of the time we just try to find treatments that can improve your symptoms.”
Dry eye disease can take a toll on someone financially, physically and emotionally. With eye drops, patients must use them throughout the day, which can be time consuming and expensive. With IPL treatment, the process is quick and requires maintenance therapy every six to 12 months. IPL helps treat the underlying cause of dry eye by decreasing inflammation, which can reduce one’s need for maintenance treatments.
“Dry eye disease is a chronic progressive disease, so it will not automatically get better and once a treatment is suspended, the symptoms are likely to come back,” Goslin said. “Dry-eye is like heart disease or high blood pressure. You can't just treat for a little bit and then stop. You have to keep treating it forever. Sometimes you can get in under control, and some people will, but sometimes you have to stay with it.”
After receiving her first treatment, Looney noticed improved comfort in her eyes within the first few days while still keeping up with her artificial tears and steroids. Within two weeks, her eyes were comfortable enough that she discontinued using some of the drops.
Coming from a situation where it seemed like nothing would work for her dry eyes and she would never find comfort. Looney said she’s happy something so “quick and simple” helped her.
“My vision slowly improved, and I'm looking forward to my second treatment and hoping that things continue to get better and improve,” Looney said.
Watch the replay Ohio Eye Associates’ virtual event “Dry Eye and Cosmetic Treatments to Look and Feel your Best with Optima IPL Technology. Hear from patients who have benefited from our new technology. Learn more about Dry Eye treatment packages.