Therapies for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Kannan Sridharan1, *, Gowri Sivaramakrishnan2
1 Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain.
2 Department of Oral Health, Fiji National University, Suva, Fiji

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Creative Commons License
© 2017 Sridharan and Sivaramakrishnan.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain, Tel: +973-33453123; E-mail:



Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a common, often overlooked, chronic condition affecting eyes for which various therapies are being evaluated. Considering the absence of a systematic review and meta-analysis, the present review was carried out.


An appropriate search strategy eligibility criteria were framed and electronic databases were scrutinized for appropriate literature. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) enrolling patients diagnosed with MGD were included. Outcome measures were Tear Break Up Time (TBUT), Schirmer’s test, Meibomian Gland (MG) secretion score, MG plugging score, OSDI and SPEED. Cochrane’s tool was used to assess the risk of bias and Forest plot were generated either with fixed or random effects model, with Standardized Mean Difference (SMD).


TBUTs, Schirmer’s test and OSDI scores for systemic antimicrobials with placebo were 1.58 [1.33, 1.83], 2.93 [0.78, 5.09] and -3.58 [-4.28, -2.89] respectively. No quantitative synthesis was attempted for either mebiomian plugging or meibomian secretion scores and no significant changes were observed with any other outcome parameter.


Only the systemic antimicrobials were found to improve the clinical features of meibomian gland dysfunction. Varying effects of different therapeutic agents (heat therapies, omega-3-fatty acids and castor oil) were identified for MGD but the risk of bias pertaining to randomization and allocation concealment was found to be associated with most of the current RCTs. More high quality evidence is required to confirm the findings of the present review.

Keywords: Antimicrobials, Heat therapy, MGD, Omega-3-Fatty Acids, Chronic, RCT.