Meibomian gland dysfunction and ocular discomfort in video display terminal workers

Eye (Lond). 2008 Jan;22(1):91-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6703025. Epub 2007 Oct 26.


Purpose: Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is one of the most common ocular disorders encountered in clinical practice. The clinical manifestations of MGD are related to the changes in the tear film and ocular surface with symptoms of ocular discomfort. In recent years, many surveys have evaluated symptoms associated with the use of Video Display Terminals (VDT), and VDT use is recognized as a risk factor for eye discomfort. The aim of the present study was to determine if the presence of MGD contributes to the signs and symptoms of ocular discomfort during the use of VDT.

Methods: In course of a routine health surveillance programme, a group of 70 subjects fulfilled the inclusion criteria and responded to a questionnaire about symptoms of ocular discomfort. The following ocular tests were performed: tear break-up time, fluorescein corneal stain, and basal tear secretion test.

Results: A total of 52 subjects out of 70 (74.3%) had MGD. A statistically significant correlation between the symptoms of ocular discomfort and hours spent on VDT work was observed in the total population (r=0.358; P=0.002; 95% CI 0.13-0.54) and in the group of subjects with MGD (r=0.365; P=0.009; 95% CI 0.103-0.58). Such correlation was not shown in subjects without MGD.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of MGD among the subjects with symptoms of ocular discomfort suggests that this diagnosis should be considered when occupational health practitioners encounter ocular complaints among VDT operators. It appears that MGD can contribute to the development of ocular discomfort in VDT operators.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Conjunctiva / physiopathology
  • Cornea / physiopathology
  • Corneal Topography
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Eyelids / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meibomian Glands / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Tears / metabolism*