Efficacy of azithromycin 1% ophthalmic solution for treatment of ocular surface disease from posterior blepharitis

Clin Exp Optom. 2011 Mar;94(2):200-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2010.00540.x. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Background: Posterior blepharitis is an eyelid disease primarily of the meibomian glands. Bacteria and chronic inflammation are contributing factors for meibomian gland disease, which leads to ocular surface and tear film alterations and chronic patient symptoms. Azithromycin 1.0% ophthalmic solution is a broad spectrum topical antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties. The present study evaluates the efficacy of azithromycin 1.0% ophthalmic solution in the treatment of the clinical signs and symptoms, including vision-related function, associated with meibomian gland dysfunction.

Methods: In an open label study, 33 patients with meibomian gland dysfunction were treated with azithromycin 1.0% ophthalmic solution twice a day for two days, then every evening for a total of 30 days. Tear break-up time, corneal staining, conjunctival staining, Schirmer scores with anaesthetic, meibomian gland score and patient's symptom scores were evaluated at baseline and after 30 days of treatment. The Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) was administered at baseline, after two weeks of treatment and after 30 days of treatment.

Results: Twenty-six of 33 patients completed the study. Tear break-up time and Schirmer score increased by 52.7 per cent (p < 0.0001) and 24 per cent (p < 0.05), respectively. There was a reduction in corneal and conjunctival staining by 83.2 and 67.9 per cent, respectively (p < 0.0001). Lid margin scores were reduced by 33.9 per cent (p < 0.0001). The patient's symptom score improved from 2.73 at baseline to 2.21 after 30 days of treatment (p < 0.01). The mean OSDI at baseline was 34.44. After two weeks and 30 days of treatment, the ODSI was 14.51 and 13.15 respectively (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: These results demonstrate clinically and statistically significant improvement in the signs and symptoms associated with posterior blepharitis. Based on these results, azithromycin 1% ophthalmic solution offers a viable option for the treatment of posterior blepharitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Azithromycin / administration & dosage*
  • Blepharitis / complications
  • Blepharitis / drug therapy*
  • Blepharitis / physiopathology
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / etiology
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meibomian Glands / metabolism
  • Meibomian Glands / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Tears / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Azithromycin