PURPOSE: To assess tear cytokine levels and clinical outcomes in moderate and severe meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) after 2 months of treatment with topical loteprednol etabonate and eyelid scrubs with warm compresses vs eyelid scrubs with warm compresses alone.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.
METHODS: Patients with moderate and severe MGD were randomized into 2 groups: topical loteprednol etabonate and eyelid scrubs with warm compresses (Group I, 34 eyes) or eyelid scrubs with warm compresses (Group II, 36 eyes). We evaluated cytokine levels, tear film break-up time (TBUT), corneal and conjunctival fluorescein staining, biomicroscopic examination of lid margins and meibomian glands, and the Ocular Surface Disease Index before initiating treatment and 1 month and 2 months after treatment.
RESULTS: There were significant decreases in the levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-1β in Group I, and IL-6 and IL-8 in Group II. Moreover, the observed decreases of these cytokines in Group I were attributed to a remarkable decrease between treatment and 1 month after treatment. In Group I, there were improvements in all of the clinical outcomes, with prominent improvement in TBUT, corneal and conjunctival fluorescein staining, and meibum quality after 1 month of treatment, compared with Group II. An improvement in meibomian gland expressibility and MGD stage reduction were more remarkable in Group I.
CONCLUSIONS: Topical loteprednol etabonate and eyelid scrubs with warm compresses were tolerated and efficacious for the treatment of moderate and severe MGD. We suggest that such beneficial effects could manifest after 1 month.
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