Meibomian Glands and Ocular Surface Changes After Closure of Meibomian Gland Orifices in Rabbits

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Purpose:To investigate changes in the corneal surface, tear film, and meibomian glands after meibomian gland orifice closure.Methods:Seventy-two eyes of 36 rabbits were used. In the study group (n = 36), the meibomian gland orifices of both upper and lower eyelids in the right eyes were electrosurgically coagulated. The 36 untreated left eyes were used as controls. Corneal wetting properties were measured 1, 3, 7, and 14 days after coagulation. The eyelid sections were stained with anti-cytokeratin (CK)1, CK5, and CK6 antibody 8 weeks after coagulation. The area of the secretory acini around one meibomian gland duct was measured, and meibography of rabbits was performed 8 weeks after meibomian gland orifice closure.Results:Three days after coagulation, the corneal wetting property was decreased compared with controls. The meibomian gland ducts gradually dilated in the study group over time. The epithelium of the central ducts in both groups was stained with CK5 and CK6, but not CK1. Although the mean area of the secretory acini in the study group (0.10 ± 0.04 mm2) was significantly smaller than that of the control group (0.18 ± 0.04; P = 0.004), meibography showed normal morphology in both study and control groups.Conclusions:Meibomian gland orifice closure reduced corneal wetting property and induced meibomian gland duct dilation accompanied by shrinkage of secretory acini. Meibography could not detect early changes in the meibomian gland after closure of the orifice. Therefore, when the orifice is obstructed, more active treatments are needed before structural changes occur.

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