Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is present in most cases of dry eye disease. MGD involves both inflammatory and obstructive etiologies. We compared efficacy and safety of treatment to reduce inflammation (lifitegrast) versus obstruction [thermal pulsation procedure (TPP)] in patients with inflammatory MGD over 42 days.
This was a single-center, 6-week, prospective, randomized, single-masked study of adults with inflammatory MGD, defined as having all of the following: burning, stinging, dryness; thickened secretions or occlusion of glands; eyelid redness; and elevated matrix metalloproteinase-9. Patients received lifitegrast ophthalmic solution 5% twice daily for 42 days or one TPP treatment at day 0. Seven symptoms and 8 objective measures of dry eye disease were assessed.
Overall, 40 of 50 randomized patients (80%) were women with mean (SD) age 65.8 (8.9) years. Lifitegrast-treated (n = 25) versus TPP-treated (n = 25) patients had greater improvement from baseline to day 42 in eye dryness [mean (SD) change from baseline: −1.05 (0.79), lifitegrast; −0.48 (0.96), TPP; P = 0.0340], corneal staining [−0.55 (0.80), lifitegrast; 0.12 (1.09), TPP; P = 0.0230], and eyelid redness [−0.77 (0.43), lifitegrast; −0.38 (0.58), TPP; P = 0.0115]; trend favored lifitegrast for best corrected visual acuity and gland patency. Unexpectedly, TPP treatment did not improve lipid layer thickness or gland patency compared with lifitegrast. No adverse events were reported.
Although MGD is often considered a disease of gland obstruction, these findings demonstrate antiinflammatory treatment with lifitegrast significantly improved patient symptoms and signs compared with treatment for obstruction (TPP). Lifitegrast should be included in treatment for inflammatory MGD.