Is Celluma LED Light Therapy Useful for Dry Eye?


Celluma is an LED light therapy commonly used in skincare for anti-aging and acne treatment as well as for pain management, hair restoration and wound healing. With low level light therapy starting to be used in eye care for meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye, is this a therapy that could help with these ocular conditions as well?

In today’s blog, I’ll review the current literature and compare the celluma to recognized therapeutic levels for Dry Eye Syndrome, Chalazia and Meibomian Gland dysfunction. You’ve made it to the eye school blog, with me, Dr. D. In today’s lesson we’re diving into the Celluma as a potential therapy for dry eye syndrome.

This blog, my facebook group and my youtube channel are all about *eye-ducation AND community. I would love nothing more than for you to share your experiences and expertise with LED light therapies like Celluma below or in the comments on my channel so we can all learn from each other.

Let’s Dig Into The Specifics of LED Light Therapy for Dry Eye

Low Level Light therapy is light modulation, or photobiomodulation technology that has been used for many years in various fields of medicine. The emission of blue LED light specific wavelength is effective against bacteria and demodex on the skin and lashes as well as sebaceous activity in the epidermis of the skin.

Red LED light specific wavelengths affect the sebum quality as well as sebum expression. In terms of the meibomian glands, LED light causes softening of the sebum and/or a better ability to express sebum. The added benefit of reducing bacterial load and/or biofilm along with helping eradicate or control demodex is very appealing for use in patients with ocular surface disease.

LED light is generally very well tolerated and painless, and can be a nice alternative to other therapies that are comparatively a little more spicy. Another light therapy I perform in my office is called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), but this therapy is comparatively a bit more painful and also requires eye shields and ultrasound gel on the face.

Comparatively, Low Level Light therapy (LLLT) is less invasive and well tolerated. Even though, let’s be honest - I do love Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), I’m just speaking to the differences in this blog.

Another difference is the ability to treat all 6 Fitzpatrick skin types with Low Level Light therapy (LLLT) as compared to Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices which are limited in treating only lighter skin tones typically fitting into Fitz types 1-4 with possibly a skin type 5 being able to tolerate the treatment. Finally, because the treatment is relatively simple, requiring no doctor, it’s fairly easy to integrate into most clinics. There isn’t a training or scheduling barrier to overcome for most clinics to be able to initiate treatments.

All About The Effectiveness of LED Light Therapy

The answer to the question of whether or not LED therapy is effective in a particular tissue comes down to the wavelength of the light used, the proximity to the skin and the length of the treatment. Effectivity is influenced by those factors, and there is certainly lots of variance between devices in all 3 of those variables.

Consider for instance the over the counter masks and full face shields like those I’ve discussed in a video on my youtube channel by Dr Gross skincare, and others. These treatments use very comparable wavelengths to that of the professional grade treatments. There is inherently no difference in an LED light in a professional grade mask versus a home mask. But there may be a difference in concentration of lights, length of treatments or proximity to skin. In the case of at-home masks the length of treatment is only 3 minutes. So, over a sustained period of using them every day there may be a benefit but it is less effective than say a 15 or 30 minute in-office treatment.

The effectiveness of light treatment is not power output but energy absorption.

Specific Details About Celluma LED Light Therapy

From the celluma website, “Low-level light therapy (LLLT) delivered by high intensity light emitting diodes (or LED diodes) is a well-established science and a popular trend in aesthetic circles today for the improvement of skin health, tone, and texture. Advances in LED technology have improved dramatically in recent years and light therapy devices are more affordable and more functional than ever. The Celluma SERIES of LED light therapy machines are the only light therapy devices which meet all proven scientific parameters to ensure effectiveness.”

The Marco Equinox is a Low Level Light therapy (LLLT) mask used specifically in eye care settings. It uses both red and blue lights to harness the ability to change sebum as well as clear bacteria and demodex. Blue light wavelength is 417, red at 633 nm and yellow at 590. The company states the irradiation output is 100mW/cm2 and the quantity absorbed by the skin is 110J/cm2.

Celluma uses 3 wavelengths at once, 465 80Hz (Blue), 640 680Hz(red) and 880 800Hz(near infrared) for a 30 minute treatment. The mask contains 345 light emitting diodes or LEDS and is approved by the FDA for multiple indications including: arthritis, muscle spasm, muscle and joint pain, muscle tissue tension, joint and muscle stiffness, diminished local circulation and inflammatory acne vulgaris.

It does not have FDA clearance for Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and Dry Eye specifically, so this would be considered an off label use. And ultimately, with all LED treatments the effectiveness does depend on how the technician places the device as well as the time of treatment. I have been using Celluma in my esthetic clinic for rosacea and skincare uses, and we have been introducing it to our dry eye patients as well.

More research needs to be done in the area of Low Level Light therapy (LLLT) especially in the field of eyecare. Perhaps that is a study I should do in my clinic! But before we have widespread acceptance of LED technology, I suspect we will need more peer reviewed research.

Has your doctor suggested LED light therapy for your dry eye? Make sure to comment below with your experience?