When treating patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a dual treatment approach may work best. A team of Chinese researchers found patients with MGD had better results when they were treated with a combination of intense pulsed light (IPL) and intraductal meibomian gland probing compared with having just one of the treatment options alone.

The randomized, blind study included 45 patients (90 eyes) with refractory obstructive MGD. The patients were divided into three groups: group one received three IPL treatments at three-week intervals; group two received meibomian gland probing as a single treatment; and group three had combined meibomian gland probing and IPL, with the probing done first followed by the IPL.

The researchers recorded the subjects’ Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) scores, tear break-up time (TBUT), corneal fluorescein staining, and meibum grade and lid margin results at baseline and at three weeks after final treatment for groups one and three, and three and 12 weeks for group two. Six months after the final treatment, patients were given another SPEED questionnaire and asked about their willingness to receive any future treatments.

All results improved in each of the three groups following treatment. However, the meibomian gland probing and IPL combo had better results than IPL and probing alone in post-treatment SPEED scores, TBUT, meibum grade and lid telangiectasia.

Also of note: the dual combination treatment had better results than IPL in lid tenderness. Compared with gland probing alone, the combination treatment also had superior results in orifice abnormality.

Six months after treatment, the SPEED score for the combination treatment also much lower than other two groups. No patients in the combination group expressed the need to be treated again compared with 35.7% and 20% in the IPL and meibomian gland probing groups, respectively. 

Huang X, Qin Q, Wang L, et al. Clinical results of Intraductal Meibomian gland probing combined with intense pulsed light in treating patients with refractory obstructive Meibomian gland dysfunction: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Opthalmol. October 28, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].