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radio frequency as a treatment for blepharitis

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  • radio frequency as a treatment for blepharitis

    Apparently, RF is being studied as a possible treatment for blepharitis.

    ď Dr. Safran is currently evaluating radiofrequency and heat as potential treatments. ďIím currently exploring using the Pelleve radiofrequency system off-label to treat blepharitis/Demodex,Ē he says. [The manufacturer] Ellman made special hand pieces for me so that I can treat patients right up to the lid margin and try to kill Demodex with radiofrequency energy/heat. Iím not crazy about treating patients with tea tree oil. Itís messy, itís smelly and it stings. I donít think itís the best way to kill these things, but itís the best way we have. If you donít stay on top of it, ultimately, they come right back,Ē he says.Ē

    The treatment is currently being done on the lids up to the lash line, for cosmetic purposes. Anyone have any experience with this?

  • #2

    How does this differ in theory to IPL and Lipiflow? Both of them are based on using high frequency light or heat to stimulate certain functions that aren't working? I wonder how this isolates the Demodex. (Coming from someone who hates science and doesn't know much about it) I don't see how this is any different. It's something to look into though! I'm going to see what else I can find on this.


    • #3
      Here's something from one website (

      Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) emits varied wavelength. Intense pulsed broad spectrum light works on principles that light energy is absorbed into particular target cells with color (chromophores) in the skin. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific target area. It can permeate the epidermis to the derma and take effect on the abnormal pigment and vessel to break the abnormal pigment cells, close the abnormal blood vessels, stimulate the proliferation of collagen and improve the rearrangement of elastic fibers, finally achieving pigment removal and skin rejuvenation.

      Bi-polar RF technology offers new scientific development in treatment of body sculpting, anti-aging and skin tightening. High radio frequency wave permeates epidermis and take effect on the collagen-rich dermal tissue directly which makes water molecules in the skin move to and fro wildly. The move produces controllable heat and results in contraction of collagen and generation of new collagen and dermal remodeling. As a result, the skin looks tighter, and wrinkles are reduced gradually.
      Like the link shows, some of the IPL machines include an RF component. I was having this treatment for facial rosacea (staying away from the eyes). Some research says the combo is good for rosacea ( Others say the RF component interferes with the IPL (

      I think one of the biggest problems with IPL is that it is also hair removal. So, if the doctor/technician zaps your lashes or eyebrows, the hairs may not grow back! The main benefit of RF (that I understand) is that it can go right up to the lashes. But there is a handpiece that Pelleve has created specifically for the eyelids. The trick may be finding the doctor who has it (and will use it)!

      My thought is that Pelleve might be a really good warm compress and that's how it helps. Or perhaps it kills demodex by shaking them "to and fro wildly". Althought I doubt it's a cure, if it's less expensive than the other "warm compress machine" (aka LipiFlow**), and works even a little, then I'm all for repeating it every 3-4 months! Hey, an added benefit might be to reduce the wrinkles on my upper lids! Mine are so bad now. But I don't know what to blame -- age or ocular rosacea. Grrr.

      Anyway, I'll post more if I find out more (I've sent messages to Ellman Intl and Pelleve via their websites).

      ** I can't belive it --- Korb and TearScience are interested in RF too! from Jan 10, 2013


      • #4
        "An added benefit might be to reduce the wrinkles on my upper lids-Mine are so bad now, I don't know what to blame, age or ocular rosacea"

        I'm blaming my parents! Seriously, this celtic backround is just doing me in!! If my eyes aren't bugging me, it's the astonishing rate of general sag I've developed in the last few years. Just horrifying!

        The news that Korb et al are interested in RF makes me wonder if they are thinking that the average 1500.00 cost for lipiflow is just beyond a lot of us in this down economy . Even the guy I've seen for IPL is complaining. Since IPl seems pretty much owned by Toyos, maybe they are looking for new cheaper territory? It would be great if this has possiblities.
        Last edited by bunnyrabbit123; 24-Mar-2013, 14:00.


        • #5
          Yes, I thought it was very interesting that Korb & TearScience were looking at RF. I don't know if they would incorporate RF into LipiFlow or if it would just be a whole other machine that performed RF on the lids and then a person performed a massage or expression. If it's the latter, it would sure make the LipiFlow machine look silly!

          As for the 'high' cost of LipiFlow, I think it has a lot to do with the handmade, single-use eye pieces that go under and over the lids (and then transmit heat and massage to the underneath of the lids). Supposedly, one pair of the eye pieces (for one use) costs ~$900 to make (I've heard other, lower quotes too --- who do you believe?).

          Anyway, I think you can't really compare LipiFlow and IPL/RF. They're apples and oranges.

          You could, however, compare IPL and RF. They are very similar... one machine with reusable/multi-use handpieces that "zap". The IPL machine that Toyos uses (DermaMed Quadra Q4) is not a fancy, complicated machine. In fact, it's got all pre-programmed settings so there's almost nothing for the doctor to learn. Any doctor could buy one and use it. And it would be the same with an RF machine.

          The problem I think is just the fact that it's near the eyes. Everyone is (and should be) afraid and careful! And IPL can't go too close to the lashes because it's also hair removal. RF could. After watching the videos of RF, my biggest question is about the comfort/discomfort of the heat generated. I saw one video where the doctor measured surface temperature. I guess the point is to get the treated area up to ~43*C where meibum melts ( and then get the stuff out of the glands (via massage/expression).

          I'd give it a try! Surprisingly, LipiFlow's heat didn't make my facial rosacea flare up too much.

          As for the Celtic background, I'm right there with you. I've had many doctors tell me I was dealt a genetic bad hand. I often tell my mother I wish she'd had an affair!


          • #6
            I don't know about anyone else, but blasting demodex into oblivion with RF sounds like sweet sweet revenge. One of my colleagues said it is similar to the way they blast kidney stones, and would be safer than using IPL anyway. Every procedure has its risks. Just need to make sure you go to a proper doctor and have proper shields over the eyes. At this stage it seems only Dr. Safran in NJ is the only person to try RF for demodex blepharitis..