The association of meibomian gland dysfunction and other common ocular diseases with dry eye: a population-based study in Spain

Cornea. 2011 Jan;30(1):1-6. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181da5778.


Purpose: To investigate the relationship of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and other prevalent ocular diseases with dry eye (DE) in a general adult population.

Methods: An age-stratified random sample of 1155 subjects aged ≥40 years was selected in O Salnés, Spain. From 937 eligible subjects, 654 (69.8%) participated (mean age (SD): 63.6 (14.4) years; range: 40-96; and 37.2% males). A standardized DE questionnaire was administered. Objective evaluation included the Schirmer test, tear film breakup time (TBUT), fluorescein staining, and rose bengal staining. DE was defined as the simultaneous presence of symptoms and at least one sign. The relationship of MGD and other ocular diseases with DE was investigated. A design-based analysis was performed, and all calculations were weighted to give unbiased estimates.

Results: DE and MGD prevalence were 11.0% [95% confidence interval (CI), 8.6-13.3] and 30.5% (95% CI, 26.9-34.1), respectively. MGD was present in 45.8% (95% CI, 34.8-57.2) of subjects with DE and was associated, after controlling for age and sex, with DE [adjusted odds ratios (ORa), 1.81]; with symptoms (ORa, 2.26); and with TBUT (ORa, 1.97), fluorescein staining (ORa, 2.09) and rose bengal staining (ORa, 3.25). The remaining ocular diseases were not associated with symptoms. However, pterygium was significantly associated with fluorescein staining (ORa, 1.89); cataract surgery with TBUT (ORa, 2.79); trauma and pseudoexfoliation with rose bengal staining (ORa, 2.75 and ORa, 4.04); and glaucoma with TBUT (ORa, 3.26), fluorescein staining (ORa, 3.40), and rose bengal staining (ORa, 3.46).

Conclusions: DE and MGD are common diseases in this population. MGD is strongly associated with symptoms and signs of DE. Nearly half of the subjects with DE have MGD. Pterygium, trauma, cataract surgery, pseudoexfoliation, and glaucoma are associated with signs of DE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / complications*
  • Cataract / diagnosis
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / complications*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Eyelid Diseases / complications*
  • Eyelid Diseases / diagnosis
  • Eyelid Diseases / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / complications*
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meibomian Glands / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pterygium / complications*
  • Pterygium / diagnosis
  • Pterygium / epidemiology
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires