Sublative Radiofrequency Improves Skin Texture and Improves Dry Eyes

A popular aesthetic treatment may have an added benefit when used in the periocular area.

By Sandra Marchese Johnson

Dry eyes, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is very common and difficult to treat. It often frustrates both the person suffering from the condition as well as the person treating it. There are often multiple causes of dry eye. Unfortunately, even though many people suffer from this condition, treatment is often unsatisfactory. Most treatments focus on symptom relief with lubricating eye drops. We have witnessed serendipitous improvement of dry eyes in multiple patients we have treated with sublative therapy.

Sublative therapy is not truly a laser treatment, because it delivers radiofrequency energy to the skin in a fractional manner, similar to microneedling. Radiofrequency energy is transmitted from two electrodes to a single target. The electrical circuit in this case runs between the two electrodes, thus maintaining control over energy’s depth of penetration.

Dry Eye Benefit

A 69-year-old white woman who has suffered with eye issues for multiple years presented to the practice (Figures A,B). She complained of her eyes burning, itching, looking red, feeling irritated, and feeling dry yet watering. She needed to use rewetting drops often. After her first sublative treatment, she noted her eyes were less red and irritated. She noted that her eyes felt better and paradoxically watered less, as well as felt less. She required less frequent use of rewetting drops. She states the results were so dramatic that she has recommended sublative treatment to many other people.

A: Before sublative
B: After two sublative treatments

C: Before sublative
D: After two sublative treatments

After this patient noted an improvement in eye issues from treatment with sublative therapy, we decided to ask patients about dry eyes or other eye issues before and after undergoing this treatment. Since then, every patient we have asked who was suffering with eye issues admitted to an improvement of symptoms as well as using rewetting/lubricating drops less often. Figures C, D show results of treatent in another patient.

Further Assessment Needed

We present this information in hopes that clinical trials will be performed to further demonstrate if there is benefit of sublative technology for the treatment of dry eyes. Sublative treatment provides improvement in the appearance of skin texture, including in the periorbital area. Concomittant improvement in dry eyes would be a bonus for affected patients.

Dr. Johnson is co-founder of Johnson Dermatology in Fort Smith, AR.


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About Practical Dermatology

Practical Dermatology is the monthly publication that provides coverage of medical care, cosmetic advancements, and practice management for clinicians in the field. With straight-forward, how-to advice from experts in various fields, we strive to enhance quality of care and improve the daily operation of dermatology practices.