Kelly K. Nichols
A single vectored thermal pulsation treatment was shown in a study to significantly improve meibomian gland function, reduce dry eye symptoms and dramatically improve comfort with contact lenses.
Contact lens materials and designs have significantly improved in recent years, according to the study authors. Nevertheless, symptoms of dry eye affect up to 50% of wearers and are a primary cause for contact lens wear discontinuation, they said.
“Having a healthy ocular surface is the foundation for visual comfort and an important factor for success in a variety of eye health treatments, including wearing contact lenses,” Kelly K. Nichols, OD, PhD, study author, said in a press release. “A key to ocular surface homeostasis is the healthy meibomian gland, as it secretes an oil that prevents evaporation of the eye's tear film. When the meibomian gland is blocked, the result is often dry eye disease. With millions of patients in need, we wanted to better understand the current treatment options available for patients with contact lens discomfort.”
The study evaluated the effects of a single 12-minute vectored thermal pulsation (VTP) treatment with the LipiFlow system (TearScience/Johnson & Johnson Vision) in 29 patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and evaporative dry eye. An untreated control group of 26 patients was evaluated and received a crossover VTP treatment at 3 months.
Patients who received the treatment had a statistically significant greater mean improvement in meibomian gland secretion score, assessed by the Meibomian Gland Evaluator, as compared with controls. At 3 months, the mean meibomian gland function score was 2.6 times higher than at baseline. Frequency and severity of dry eye symptoms, assessed by the Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness questionnaire, decreased by 58%. The mean comfortable contact lens wearing time increased on average by 4 hours per day at 1 month and remained stable over the 3 months of the study. Additional parameters, including tear break-up time, lid wiper epitheliopathy severity, lid appearance and frequency of over-the-counter topical medications also improved.
Patients in the control group had the same results after receiving the crossover VTP treatment at 3 months. – by Michela Cimberle
Blackie is an employee of TearScience. Please see the study for the other authors’ financial disclosures.