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

The Open Ophthalmology Journal 22 Nov 2017 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874364101711010346



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.
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