Functional and Morphological Evaluation of Meibomian Glands in the Assessment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Subtype and Severity
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology. 2019, 209 160-167. 10.1016/j.ajo.2019.09.005
Purpose To classify subtypes of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and evaluate the dependency of dry eye signs, symptoms, and parameters on MGD subtype. Design Cross-sectional study. Study Population: the right eyes of 447 patients with MGD of various subtypes and 20 healthy volunteers. Methods Patients were divided into 4 subtypes of MGD based on meibum expression, meibum quality, and MG loss on meibography images (meibograde of 0–6). Subtypes were patients with high meibum delivery (hypersecretory and nonobvious MGD) and those with low meibum delivery (hyposecretory and obstructive MGD). Additional clinical tests included tear film break-up time (TFBUT), ocular staining, osmolarity, Schirmer I, blink interval timing and the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. Results A total of 78 eyes had hypersecretory MGD; 49 eyes had nonobvious MGD; 66 eyes had hyposecretory MGD; and 254 eyes had obstructive MGD. Increased tear film osmolarity and lower TFBUT were found in the low-delivery groups; hyposecretory (P = 0.006, P = 0.016) and obstructive MGD (P = 0.008, P = 0.006) relative to high-delivery MGD (hypersecretory and nonobvious groups, respectively). Worse ocular symptoms and ocular staining were also found in low-delivery MGD groups than the high delivery MGD groups (P < 0.01 and P < 0.006, respectively). Conclusions Patients with low-delivery MGD had worse dry eye parameters and ocular symptoms than those with high meibum delivery, indicating the pivotal role of meibum secretion in ocular surface health that should be targeted in MGD therapy. Furthermore, nonobvious MGD cannot be diagnosed using conventional dry eye tests and requires morphologic assessment of meibography images to confirm MG loss.