In order to determine the relationship between meibomian gland dysfunction and tear film abnormalities in rosacea, tear film flow and stability and meibomian gland function were assessed in 43 consecutive patients. Schirmer, tear film break-up time, and meibomian gland function values in patients with ocular rosacea (n = 28) were found to be significantly decreased as compared with those of the patients with only cutaneous involvement and control patients (p > 0.05). In patients with dermatologic rosacea (n = 15) these values were not different from those of the age- and sex-matched controls (p > 0.05). The effects of tetracycline and meibomian gland expression therapy also were investigated in patients with ocular rosacea. Neither meibomian gland expression therapy nor tetracycline administration had beneficial effects on decreased tear secretion, but tetracycline improved the break-up time values. Our findings showed a positive relationship between tear film abnormalities and meibomian gland dysfunction in patients with rosacea. Decreased tear secretion in patients with ocular rosacea would seem to be a result of structural changes secondary to meibomian gland dysfunction, and short break-up time might be due to an abnormal meibum composition.
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