Randomized double-masked trial of eyelid cleansing treatments for blepharitis

Ocul Surf. 2018 Jan;16(1):77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2017.10.005. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


Purpose: To compare the efficacy of a dedicated eyelid cleanser and diluted baby shampoo in the management of blepharitis.

Methods: Forty-three participants with clinical blepharitis signs were enrolled in a prospective, randomized, double-masked, paired-eye trial. A dedicated eyelid cleanser (TheraTears® SteriLid®) was applied to the eyelids of one eye (randomized) and diluted baby shampoo (Johnson's® No More Tears®) to the fellow eye, twice daily for 4 weeks. Tear film parameters, ocular surface characteristics, symptomology and cytology markers were assessed at baseline and day 28.

Results: Baseline measurements did not differ between treatments (all p > 0.05). The eyelid cleanser was preferred over baby shampoo by the majority of participants (p < 0.001). Improvements in the tear lipid layer, inferior lid wiper epitheliopathy (LWE), cylindrical collarettes, and MMP-9 expression were limited to the dedicated eyelid cleanser (all p < 0.05), and a greater decrease in SANDE symptoms score was also observed (p = 0.04). Meibomian gland capping and MUC5AC expression worsened with baby shampoo treatment (both p < 0.05). SPEED symptoms score, superior LWE, seborrhoeic lash crusting, and trichiasis decreased significantly following application of both treatments (all p < 0.05), but did not differ between treatments (all p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Clinical improvements in blepharitis occurred with both treatments. However, only the dedicated eyelid cleanser proved effective in reducing ocular surface inflammation, and was the preferred therapy. Long term impact of decreased goblet cell function secondary to baby shampoo treatment requires further exploration.

Keywords: Baby shampoo; Blepharitis; Conjunctival impression cytology; Eyelid cleanser; Eyelid hygiene; Meibomian gland dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Blepharitis / drug therapy*
  • Blepharitis / genetics
  • Detergents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eyelids / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucin 5AC / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surface-Active Agents / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Detergents
  • MUC5AC protein, human
  • Mucin 5AC
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • MMP9 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9