A retrospective study based in Beijing, China, found that the combined treatment of intense pulsed light (IPL) and meibomian gland expression is the most beneficial for patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) who are younger, have longer tear break-up times (TBUT) and more meibomian glands. The researchers believe these patients have a relatively normal gland structure and are only in the condition’s early stages, boosting treatment efficacy.

The team reviewed the medical records of 44 MGD patients. The IPL/gland expression treatment was applied on the eyelids three times at intervals of four weeks. The study noted improved dry eye symptoms, TBUT, corneal staining and meibomian gland secretion after three treatments, but the meiboscore and meibomian gland loss score remained unchanged. Still, sex, dry eye symptoms and gland secretion function did not affect treatment outcomes.

The researchers hypothesize that the extent of gland dropout is an important factor in the treatment’s outcomes because the number of meibomian glands is correlated with age, TBUT and disease progression.

Tang Y, Liu R, Tu P, et al. A retrospective study of treatment outcomes and prognostic factors of intense pulsed light therapy combined with meibomian gland expression in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction. Eye Contact Lens. April 9, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].