Reversibility of Gland Dropout and Significance of Eyelid Hygiene Treatment in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

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To observe reversibility of meibomian gland (MG) dropout and analyze correlated factors and to compare the treatment efficiency with and without eyelid hygiene in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).


Consecutive 78 eyes of 78 MGD (stage 2–3) patients who finished follow-up examination after 1-month of treatment were recruited in this retrospective study. All patients were treated with artificial lubricant and eyelid hygiene. Related ocular surface evaluation and meibomian gland assessment were examined.


There were 26 (33%) patients (included in group 1) who ignored doctors' order for eyelid hygiene, and 52 (67%) patients (included in group 2) were compliant. There was no statistical difference between group 1 (age, 44.4 ± 12.2) and group 2 (age, 38.9 ± 16.6) in characteristics and pretreatment clinical indexes. However, after 1-month of treatment, only the ocular surface disease index of group 1 improved (P = 0.048), whereas all clinical indexes of group 2, except the Schirmer test result, improved (including expressibility, all P < 0.05). A 5% decrease in MG dropout of both upper (5.4%) and lower (4.6%) eyelids in group 2 was observed. Improvement in upper-eyelid dropout and expressibility were the predictors of lower-eyelid dropout improvement. The reversibility had no correlation with age, sex, pretreatment MGD stage, disease duration, and use of topical antiinflammation medication.


With expressibility-improving treatment, MG dropout was reversible to some extent. Eyelid hygiene is an efficient treatment of MGD; however, there is a need for ophthalmologists to instruct patients on conduct and supervise patients' compliance.

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