Purpose: To assess the clinical efficacy of a newly developed disposable eyelid-warming device (Eye Warmer) for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
Methods: The Eye Warmer was applied for 5 minutes to 44 eyes of 22 patients who exhibited decreased tear break-up time (BUT) and dry-eye symptoms. Its efficacy was assessed on the basis of BUT and dry-eye symptoms in the short-term study. In the therapeutic study, the Eye Warmer was applied to 34 eyes of 17 MGD patients with decreased BUT and dry-eye symptoms for 5 minutes once a day for 2 weeks. The 16 eyes of 8 patients served as untreated controls. We examined tear film lipid layer interference patterns, BUT, meibomian gland secretion, and dry-eye symptoms in both groups before and after the treatment.
Results: BUT and dry-eye symptoms significantly improved after the treatment in both the short-term and the therapeutic study (P<.01). The incidence of normal tear lipid layer in the treated group was significantly higher after treatment (28 eyes [82.4%]) than before (19 eyes [55.9%]) (P=.036). The incidence of meibomian gland obstruction was significantly decreased after treatment (14 eyes [41.2%]) compared to before treatment (26 eyes [76.5%]) (P=.006).
Conclusions: Warming the eyelids with the Eye Warmer improved the stability and uniformity of the tear lipid layer in MGD patients by melting the meibomian gland lipid. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of the Eye Warmer for the treatment of MGD.