The efficacy of topical azithromycin (AZ) supplementation to systemic AZ has not been studied. This study evaluates the efficacy of topical AZ supplementation to systemic AZ, warm compresses, artificial tears, and lid scrubs for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
Eighty-five patients with stage 4 MGD were enrolled in the study. The patients enrolled into the study were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 comprised 55 patients who received preservative-free topical 1.5% AZ administered as a unit dose, and group 2 comprised 30 patients who did not receive topical AZ. Both groups were prescribed artificial tear eye drops and systemic AZ. Fluorescein tear film breakup time (TBUT), corneal staining, Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) symptom scores, and meibum quality were evaluated at baseline and after 1 and 3 months.
The mean age of patients in group 1 was 48.3 ± 13.4 years (25 men and 30 women) and in group 2 was 50.7 ± 10.2 years (12 men and 18 women). After treatment at the first and third month, group 1 showed significant improvement in mean TBUT, mean corneal staining score, meibum quality, and mean OSDI scores compared with baseline (P < 0.05). In group 2, only the OSDI score and meibum quality improved significantly after treatment compared with baseline (P < 0.05).
These results demonstrate clinically and statistically greater improvement in MGD-associated signs and symptoms with the addition of topical AZ to the systemic treatment.