Efficacy of Azithromycin Eyedrops for Individuals With Meibomian Gland Dysfunction-Associated Posterior Blepharitis

Eye Contact Lens. 2021 Jan 1;47(1):54-59. doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000729.


Purpose: To examine the safety and efficacy of azithromycin eyedrops in Japanese individuals with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)-associated posterior blepharitis.

Methods: Individuals with MGD-associated posterior blepharitis who visited the Itoh Clinic, Saitama, Japan, were randomly assigned to receive azithromycin (1%) eyedrops (AZM group, 16 eyes of 16 patients) or preservative-free artificial tears (control group, 20 eyes of 20 patients) for 2 weeks. All subjects also applied a warming eyelid compress twice per day. Subjective symptoms (Standardized Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness [SPEED] score), lipid layer thickness (LLT) and interferometric pattern of the tear film, plugging and vascularity of the lid margin, noninvasive break-up time of the tear film (NIBUT) and fluorescein-based break-up time of the tear film (TBUT), corneal-conjunctival fluorescein staining score, tear meniscus height, meibum grade, meiboscore, tear osmolarity, and Schirmer test value were determined before and after treatment. Side effects of treatment were also recorded.

Results: In the AZM group, SPEED score, LLT, interferometric pattern, plugging and vascularity of the lid margin, NIBUT, TBUT, meibum grade, and tear osmolarity were significantly improved after treatment compared with baseline. The SPEED score, interferometric pattern, plugging, vascularity, meibum grade, and tear osmolarity were also significantly improved after treatment in the AZM group compared with the control group. Common side effects in the AZM group were transient eye irritation and blurred vision.

Conclusion: Azithromycin eyedrops improved eyelid inflammation, the quality and quantity of the lipid layer of the tear film, and tear film stability. Such eyedrops thus seem to be a safe and effective treatment for MGD-associated posterior blepharitis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Azithromycin
  • Blepharitis* / drug therapy
  • Eyelid Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction*
  • Meibomian Glands
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Tears


  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Azithromycin