To evaluate meibomian gland (MG) changes in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) by infrared meibography and to further investigate possible correlations with hematological characteristics.
Thirty-three patients were included: infrared meibography of the lower eyelid, Schirmer test, tear break-up time, ocular surface staining, and Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire were conducted before (V0) and 4 months after HSCT (V1). A paired samples t test was used to compare parameters before and after HSCT. A mixed analysis of variance was used to assess the effect of hematological characteristics on changes of MG loss (MGL) after HSCT.
MGL and corneal staining significantly increased after HSCT (respectively, from 24.3% ± 10.1% to 32.2 ± 15.0 and from 1.2 ± 1.5 to 2.0 ± 1.7; always P < 0.011), whereas tear break-up time significantly decreased (from 6.6 ± 4.2 seconds to 3.2 ± 2.2; P < 0.001). At V1, 19 patients (57.6%) belonged to ocular graft-versus-host disease severity grade 0, 8 (24.2%) to grade I, and 6 (18.2%) to grade II. The percentage of MGL at V0 and the increase of MGL from V0 to V1 did not differ between patients who developed ocular graft-versus-host disease and those who did not (always P > 0.05). At V1, MGs' quality reduced in 16 patients (48.5%), remained unchanged in 14 (42.4%), and improved in 3 (9.1%). The increase of MGL after HSCT was higher in patients receiving myeloablative conditioning regimen (P = 0.005).
MG function, loss, and quality significantly worsened after HSCT. Myeloablative conditioning regimen was associated with higher MGL.