Purpose: To evaluate the effect of a single treatment with the LipiFlow(®) Thermal Pulsation System on signs of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and dry eye symptoms over a 9-month period.
Methods: Patients (n = 42 eyes, 21 subjects) diagnosed with MGD and dry eye symptoms were recruited for a non-significant risk, prospective, open-label, 1-month clinical trial. Patients received a single 12-minute treatment using the LipiFlow(®) Thermal Pulsation System on each eye. The LipiFlow(®) device applies heat to the conjunctival surfaces of the upper and lower inner eyelids while simultaneously applying pulsatile pressure to the outer eyelid surfaces to express the meibomian glands. Patient symptoms were evaluated using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Standard Patient Evaluation for Eye Dryness (SPEED) dry eye questionnaires; tear break-up time was measured with the dry eye test (DET™); and meibomian gland function was evaluated using a standardized diagnostic expression technique. Data are presented for patient's pre-treatment (baseline) and at 1-month and 9-month post-treatment.
Results: Meibomian gland secretion scores improved significantly from baseline (4.4 ± 4.0) to 1-month post-treatment (11.3 ± 6.2; p < 0.0001) and this improvement was maintained with no significant regression at 9 months (11.7 ± 5.9). Similarly, baseline tear break-up time (4.8 ± 3.2) was significantly increased at 1 month (9.6 ± 7.6; p < 0.001) and this increase was maintained with no significant regression at 9 months (7.1 ± 5.6). Symptom scores on both OSDI and SPEED questionnaires improved significantly at 1 month (p < 0.0001) and this improvement was maintained at 9 months.
Conclusion: With such prolonged improvement in signs and symptoms of dry eye disease, the LipiFlow(®) Thermal Pulsation System offers a technological advancement for the treatment of dry eye disease secondary to meibomian gland dysfunction. A single 12-minute LipiFlow(®) treatment results in up to 9 months of sustained improvement of meibomian gland function, tear break-up time and dry eye symptoms that are unparalleled with current dry eye treatments.