Morphological characteristics of Meibomian Glands and their Influence on Dry Eye disease in contact lens wearers
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PURPOSE: Meibomian glands (MG) are now easily imaged via clinical meibography machines. The purpose of this work was to explore the utility of the known MG morphology metrics for predicting dry eye disease (DED) in contact lens (CL) wearers. METHODS: Successful and previous CL wearers were recruited. DED was diagnosed if the participant's worst eye had a reduced tear meniscus height (TMH) of <0.2 mm or non-invasive tear break-up time (NITBUT) of <10 s and a Standardized Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) score >5.0. Meibography was performed and images were subjectively graded by two examiners for the following MG characteristics: distorted, tortuous, hooked, abnormal gap, overlapping, fluffy areas, tadpoling, thinned, thickened, ghost, no extension to lid margin, shortened and dropout (atrophy). DED diagnostic ability of each metric was determined with receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. RESULTS: A total of 112 participants were recruited, with 18.8% having DED and 60.7% being female. The only MG morphology metrics that were marginally predictive of DED were thickened upper eyelid MGs (p = 0.046), thickened mean upper plus lower eyelid MGs (p = 0.007), and atrophy of upper eyelid MGs (p = 0.043); however, none of these metrics reached a meaningful area under the curve in ROC analysis (all <0.70). CONCLUSION: While abnormal MG morphology is likely suggestive of DED in CL wearers, none of the MG morphology metrics evaluated alone in this study had clinically meaningful predictive value for detecting DED in this group of current and previous CL wearers.
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