Published in Ocular Surface

Expanding Line of Treatments To Aesthetics With OptiLIGHT

This post is sponsored by Lumenis

Hear how Pamela Theriot, OD, FAAO, is expanding her dry eye practice to include aesthetic treatments.

Expanding Line of Treatments To Aesthetics With OptiLIGHT
Many optometrists understand “ocular aesthetics” best for its roots in managing dry eye disease (DED). However, over the past few years, the definition has evolved to include the appearance of the eye and skin around the eye—and it makes sense for our patients that optometrists are at the center of those conversations.
I recently made the decision to implement OptiLIGHT for aesthetic treatments after experiencing the benefits of using the technology to manage and treat patients with DED. Below I share my insights as well as tips to train your staff, new ways to incorporate aesthetics into your workflow, and conversation starters to begin thoughtful dialogues with your patients. If your practice currently manages patients with DED, you may be surprised by how many of them will welcome new aesthetic offerings.

Deciding to implement OptiLIGHT for dry eye patients

Intense pulsed light (IPL) has long been used in dermatology to treat a number of skin conditions, including hemangiomas, telangiectasia, and rosacea.1 In the ophthalmic community, OptiLight is the only IPL that has demonstrated improvement—through over 50 clinical studies—when treating the signs of DED.
My decision to choose OptiLIGHT for my patients with DED was driven by what I’ve learned from colleagues, as well as the fact the Lumenis light therapy is the first and only IPL to receive FDA-approval for the management of dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). This designation carried significant weight for me.
I incorporated OptiLIGHT into my practice in February 2023, and since then, have witnessed compelling results. Patients are generally eager to return for four follow-up appointments every two to four weeks because they experience improved signs of dry eye disease, reduced irritation, and a decreased reliance on artificial tears. In some cases, patients have told me they have chosen to discontinue long-standing prescription medications.

Incorporating aesthetics into your dry eye practice

My decision to expand into the realm of aesthetics was motivated by my patients themselves. Our dry eye patients began noticing that after their OptiLIGHT treatments for dry eye disease due to MGD, they saw improvements in their skin’s complexion, reduced redness, and diminished brown spots. This sparked questions about other facial concerns, including additional age spots, bothersome red blood vessels, and unwanted facial hair.
Understanding that my dry eye patients and those suffering from ocular rosacea have broader concerns regarding their overall facial appearance, I wanted to understand how the OptiLIGHT system could both address my patient’s dry eye discomfort and meet their diverse aesthetic needs. I was also inspired by peers in the medical field who have even incorporated med spas into their practices, driven by the remarkable outcomes they’ve achieved with the Lumenis OptiLIGHT.
I really appreciate that I can count on OptiLIGHT to deliver relief from the signs of dry eye disease as well as addressing my patients’ aesthetic concerns.* While this is a win for my practice’s workflow efficiency, the greater benefit might be that my patients already trust OptiLIGHT—and me—for ocular and aesthetic comfort as well as feeling and looking their best.
*When used with the upgraded aesthetic modules and applications.

Gain confidence using OptiLIGHT for ocular aesthetics

Lumenis made it easy for us to get up to speed and provided thorough training for my staff and me. I received comprehensive education on various aesthetic settings, which gave us the tools to delve deeper into the device's capabilities. Easy-to-follow manuals and instructional videos further enriched our understanding.
Our Lumenis trainer gave us the time we needed, answered our questions, and made sure we felt in command of the unit settings. My staff and I all received aesthetic treatments so we could enjoy the results first-hand.
The success and enthusiasm of my staff bolstered my confidence I could deliver aesthetic treatment and positive patient experiences. The secondary benefit of this training is that my staff has been exceedingly pleased with their aesthetic results, which they enthusiastically share with our patients.

Target demographics for ocular aesthetics

While I definitely saw the potential for success and patient satisfaction by expanding into aesthetics, I didn't anticipate the speed at which it would happen or the frequency with which patients would express their interest. My female patients, especially, welcomed the expansion of treatment areas and the comprehensive approach to addressing their cosmetic concerns.
While OptiLIGHT is dedicated to treating the signs of dry eye disease, my patients have been very receptive to how a similar treatment can address their aesthetic concerns as well. The fact that I can do both builds patients’ trust in me and gives me another area of their lives where I can make a positive impact.

Aesthetic treatments in high demand include:

  • Vascular lesions
  • Treatment of brown spots or discolorations
  • Hemangioma removal
  • Enhancement of skin texture
  • Facial hair removal
  • Telangiectasias on the entire face, including cheeks, chin, and forehead

What role does staff play in OptiLIGHT treatments?

You really can’t underestimate the importance of staff in the success of any aesthetic offering. That’s why I've provided hands-on, immersive training for my staff—including front desk and billing experts as well as all doctors and technicians. Many of them personally experienced OptiLIGHT aesthetic treatments within the initial months of introducing the device to our office.
Part of the training includes taking turns preparing each other for treatment, which delivers insights from both the technician's and patient's perspectives and fosters a high level of comfort with the workflow. As a result, my staff experiences positive outcomes for themselves and can authentically express enthusiasm to patients about the services we offer.
Because of their in-depth learning experience, my staff is well-versed in administering a specific questionnaire to patients who present with dry eye symptoms. If a patient's questionnaire score exceeds seven, they are automatically scheduled for meibography. This streamlined approach ensures that by the time the patient returns to the examination room, the necessary tests have already been conducted, allowing me to discuss their treatment promptly.
Moreover, when a patient is scheduled for treatment, my staff takes the lead in facilitating the process. They ensure that all necessary paperwork, including the skin questionnaire and consent forms, is completed accurately. Additionally, they add efficiencies by prepping patients with a headband, facial cleansing, and application of ultrasound gel before I even enter the room.
Because the patient is fully prepared, our time together is highly efficient, enabling me to focus primarily on discussing the treatment process. This quality time is crucial as it allows me to assess their skin and lower eyelids before the procedure, explain the device's benefits for their eyes, provide guidance on aftercare, and address any questions or concerns.

How to approach conversations with patients

Incorporating aesthetics into traditional medical practices can be a seamless transition, especially if you let demand lead the way. When initially considering this expansion, I began by talking to patients about their ocular rosacea. My personal experience was that it wasn’t long until patients expressed interest in further aesthetic treatments. What really helped me was to address a patient’s dry eye signs first, which then serves as a solid foundation for discussing aesthetic benefits.
For instance, in cases of DED, I openly discuss the connection between dry eye and rosacea, emphasizing how the latter can impact the appearance of their face. This often leads patients to recognize or pay more attention to their own facial rosacea if it’s present. When I inform them about our available treatments for rosacea, using the same system we are using to address their dry eye conditions, they typically express enthusiasm. Subsequently, I can delve deeper into their skin concerns, providing detailed explanations about telangiectasias and redness that I may observe along the eyelid margins.
I like to begin any patient discussion by talking about the functional problem I am managing and treating. For example, if I have been using OptiLIGHT to reduce a patient’s inflammation and increase the capability of their meibomian glands, I might point out that I’m noticing an improvement in meibomian gland function, an improvement in TBUT, their reduced need for artificial tears, or decreased reliance on chronic prescription medications. This naturally turns the conversation into other changes I may see if we use the aesthetic treatment setting.
My patients currently undergoing OptiLIGHT treatments for DED enjoy their visits to my practice because of the positive outcomes they experience—which may also include a decrease in redness and telangiectasia near their eyelid margins. These are ideal candidates to talk to about aesthetics, as they have already seen the results for themselves.

Streamlining aesthetic procedures with your practice workflow

Integrating aesthetic treatments into our practice has been a positive experience and seamlessly dovetails into our workflow. One of the notable advantages of utilizing OptiLIGHT is that treatments are time-efficient and align well with our standard 15-minute examination template. The process typically involves a technician preparing the patient for the doctor—and the specific procedure rarely exceeds 15 minutes of the physician's time.
We are excited to be  expanding our services this year to include radio frequency and other aesthetic treatments available through OptiPLUS. This innovative, FDA-cleared dual-frequency RF technology enables energy penetration to different skin depths, heating the superficial layer to promote collagen formation and stimulate periorbital skin rejuvenation while also reaching into the deeper tissue to target the meibomian glands.2,3,4
I am looking forward to offering all of our patients dual-frequency RF technology available from the same company behind the IPL technology I trust for my dry eye patients. The powerful pairing of OpitLIGHT and OptiPLUS unlocks the potential of two complementary, dedicated, innovative devices that can potentially advance patients’ outcomes and overall comfort.
In anticipation of the arrival of our OptiPLUS unit, I have initiated conversations with my patients regarding its potential benefits, including the fact that OptiPLUS can improve meibomian gland function and alleviate the symptoms of MGD when used in conjunction with OptiLIGHT.4 I've maintained a list of interested patients, ensuring that we have a ready pool for scheduling when it becomes available.
At present, our approach to both dry eye and aesthetic services remains unified. We have not separated these services, finding it convenient to incorporate aesthetic treatments within the context of dry eye treatment.
My goal for the future is to offer aesthetic treatments that also deliver specific structural benefits. For instance, a non-surgical lid lift may increase or improve lid closure and increase lid tightness, which can benefit dry eye patients affected by poor lid seal at night. Even though it’s technically an “aesthetic” treatment, the lift would help both their nighttime symptoms and blink during the daytime.

How aesthetic treatments impact practice success

The incorporation of aesthetic treatments has definitely helped us reach our practice goals and increased patient referrals. Providing aesthetic services to established dry eye patients has proven to be an efficient and mutually beneficial approach. Our patients perceive the additional aesthetic services as enhancing their overall experience, without any sense of upselling.
The feedback from our patients regarding these aesthetic services has been overwhelmingly positive. With each visit, patients express excitement about improvements in how they feel—and how they feel about their appearance. I'm very happy that the aesthetic component of the treatment has emerged as a side benefit that our patients not only appreciate but actively share with their friends.


  • OptiLIGHT treatment is limited to regulatory-approved indications in each territory.
  • OptiLIGHT dry eye treatment is approved for the lower eyelids
  • OptiLIGHT treatment may be performed only by licensed practitioners

Revolutionize your practice with the powerful combination of OptiLIGHT and OptiPLUS

1. Goldberg DJ. Current trends in intense pulsed light. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(6):45-53.
2. Javate RM. Cruz RT, Khan J, Trakos N, Gordon RE. Nonablative 4-MHZ dual radiofrequency wand rejuvenation treatment for periorbital rhytides and midface laxity. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011;27(3):180-185.
3. Al-Atif H. Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2022;12(1):e2022018. Published 2022 Jan 1.
4. Chelnis J, Garcia CN, Hamza H. Multi-Frequency RF Combined with Intense Pulsed Light Improves Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease Due to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Clin Ophthalmol. 2023;17:3089-3102. Published 2023 Oct 20.
Pamela E. Theriot, OD, FAAO
About Pamela E. Theriot, OD, FAAO

Pamela Theriot, OD, FAAO, Clinical Director of the Dry Eye Relief Center at Lusk Eye Specialists.

Dr. Theriot received her undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston, TX. She received her Doctorate in Optometry from the University of California at Berkeley, School of Optometry. Her education continued with a residency at the State University of New York, College of Optometry and a fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Theriot’s husband is a retired pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Being a military wife has led her to work in 6 different states and a variety of different climates. Her passion for treating dry eye patients started while living in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.

In 2018, she published the book, “Alleviate Dry Eye”, as an educational guide for patients to get relief from their dry eyes. In 2021, she was appointed to the Public Awareness committee of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS). Dr. Theriot is an international speaker on the topics of ocular surface disease and anterior segment treatments.

In the past few years, she has authored papers in several journals such as: Review of Optometry, Modern Optometry, Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses, and Optometry Times. She has also been mentioned in In Style Magazine as well as Forbes. She created a Dry Eye Relief Blog loaded with tips and product recommendations for dry eyes patients.

Dr. Theriot resides in Benton, LA, with her husband and their two daughters. They enjoy swimming, boating, camping, laughing and building memories with their friends and family.

Pamela E. Theriot, OD, FAAO
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