Introduction: Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a frequent disorder often associated with dry eye disease. Slit-lamp examination with digital expression of the tarsal Meibomian glands allows examination of the contents of the distal Meibomian gland and the meatus. However, the Meibomian epithelium, interglandular space and proximal secretions cannot be clinically assessed. In vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) is a rapid and non-invasive imaging technique that provides high-resolution images of the ocular surface and eyelids. The primary objective of the present study was to establish a classification of MGD with IVCM. Secondary objectives were to evaluate this scoring system by analyzing the correlation with OSDI, infrared (IR) meibography and Demodex infestation.
Material and methods: Forty-six dry eye patients (Ocular Surface Disease Index [OSDI] >13) associated with MGD were enrolled. Ten healthy subjects without dry eye disease or blepharitis were also included as controls. An OSDI questionnaire, clinical examination, IVCM and infrared meibography of the lower lid were performed in all subjects by the same examiner.
Results: A new MGD score was established based on IVCM findings: the first stage was Meibomian obstruction with a clear epithelium, the second stage was an inflammatory state with Meibomian gland obstruction, epithelial and interglandular inflammation, and the last stage was glandular fibrosis. This score was significantly correlated with the meiboscore obtained with infrared meibography (correlation coefficient 0.47, CI95% [0.22-0.66]).
Conclusion: IVCM of the Meibomian gland complex complements the clinical examination by determining the stage of dysfunction and may help clinicians evaluate and treat MGD.
Keywords: Blepharitis; Blépharite; Dry eye disease; Dysfonctionnement des glandes de Meibomius; In vivo confocal microscopy; Infrared meibography; Meibographie infrarouge; Meibomian gland dysfunction; Microscopie confocale in vivo; OCT; Sécheresse oculaire.
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