We evaluated the meibomian gland function of 11 patients before and during treatment with isotretinoin (Accutane) by assessing tear osmolarity, meibomian gland morphology, tear production, rose bengal staining, and meibomian gland excreta. We found, during Accutane use, that meibomian glands appeared significantly less dense and atrophic by meibography. Excreta thickness increased from 1.7 +/- 0.9 to 3.1 +/- 1.2 (p less than 0.005), and expressible excreta volume decreased from 1.52 +/- 0.68 to 1.10 +/- 0.3 (p less than 0.05) (scale 1-4). We also found a significant increase in tear osmolarity from 304.9 +/- 11 to 316.3 +/- 10 mosmol/L (p less than 0.005). There was no significant change in the Schirmer test during treatment. We suggest that the clinical symptoms of blepharitis during Accutane therapy are related to decreased meibomian gland function and consequent increased tear evaporation and tear osmolarity.