Aqueous-deficient dry eye (ADDE) and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) can be refractory to therapy. Intense pulsed light (IPL) was recently introduced as an effective treatment for MGD. We here evaluated the efficacy of IPL combined with MG expression (MGX) compared with MGX alone (n = 23 and 20, respectively) for patients with refractory ADDE with mild MGD at three sites. Symptom score, visual acuity (VA), noninvasive breakup time (NIBUT) and lipid layer thickness (LLT) of the tear film, lid margin abnormalities, fluorescein BUT (FBUT), fluorescein staining, tear meniscus height (TMH), meibum grade, meiboscore, and Schirmer's test value were assessed at baseline and 1 and 3 months after treatment. LLT, plugging, vascularity, FBUT and NIBUT were improved only in the IPL-MGX group at three months compared with baseline. All parameters with the exception of VA, meiboscore, TMH, Schirmer's test value were also improved in the IPL-MGX group compared with the control group at three months, as was VA in patients with central corneal epitheliopathy. Although IPL-MGX does not affect aqueous layer, the induced improvement in quality and quantity of the lipid layer may increase tear film stability and ameliorate symptoms not only for evaporative dry eye but for ADDE.
Keywords: aqueous-deficient dry eye; intense pulsed light; meibomian gland; meibomian gland dysfunction.