Meibomian glands dropout and morphological alterations to the ocular surface are significant in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), according to newly published research. Investigators, who originally shared their findings at the Tukish Ophthalmology Society Meeting in 2018, demonstrated the damage using meibography, Schirmer 1 and tear film break-up time (T-BUT) tests.

The study reviewed the results of  36 eyes of 36 patients with severe OSAS and an additional 24 eyes of 24 patients with primary snoring or mild OSAS. In addition to grading Meibomian gland drop-out, the presence morphologic alterations such as Meibomian gland duct distortion, thinning and dilatation were also assessed using a detailed eye examination along with ocular surface staining and evaluation of upper and lower eyelid Meibomian glands using infrared filter of slit-lamp biomicroscope.

The investigators’ primary finding was that average t-BUT for the severe OSAS group was lower, and upper and total meiboscores were higher, than the mild OSAS group. The frequency of Meibomian gland duct distortion, thinning and dilatation were also significantly greater in severe OSAS patients.

The Schirmer 1 and T-BUT tests were in favor of evaporative type dry eye syndrome, which also support Meibomian gland alterations in severe OSAS patients.

Karaca I, Yagci A, Palamar M, et al. Ocular surface assessment and morphological alterations in meibomian glands with meibography in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Ocular Surf. June 18, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].