Researchers recently found patients who are HIV-positive have greater meibomian gland dropout, which was also related to disease severity at diagnosis.

This cross-sectional study included 35 adults, categorized as healthy controls (n=18) or HIV-positive patients (n=17). Participants had a comprehensive anterior eye exam to evaluate for dry eye symptoms, tear film osmolarity and stability, meibomian gland dropout, ocular redness and ocular surface staining.

The team observed more extensive meibomian gland dropout in the HIV-positive group, which was negatively correlated with blood CD4 T-cell count (a marker of immunodeficiency) at diagnosis. They noted that all other tests of anterior ocular health, including the levels of 36 cytokines in the tear film, were not significantly different between the groups.

“Given [greater meibomian gland dropout] predisposes to dry eye disease, it suggests the need for long-term studies of anterior eye health in people with HIV,” the study authors concluded in their paper. 

Nguyen BN, Chung AW, Lopez E, et al. Meibomian gland dropout is associated with immunodeficiency at HIV diagnosis: implications for dry eye disease. Ocul Surface. February 18, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].