Comparison of a single-dose vectored thermal pulsation procedure with a 3-month course of daily oral doxycycline for moderate-to-severe meibomian gland dysfunction

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of a single bilateral 12-minute vectored thermal pulsation (VTP) procedure versus daily oral doxycycline for 3 months for moderate-to-severe meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Methods: This prospective, randomized, parallel-group, single-masked study included 28 subjects who received either a single-dose VTP or 3 months of doxycycline treatment. At baseline and 3 months post treatment, all subjects were evaluated for the following: dry eye symptoms with a standard dry eye questionnaire (the Standard Patient Evaluation for Eye Dryness [SPEED]), meibomian gland (MG) function by counting the number of glands yielding liquid secretion with the MG evaluator (MGE), tear breakup time (TBUT) and corneal and conjunctival staining. Results: In the VTP group, at 3 months, there was a significant improvement in MG function (4.00±1.47 to 7.73±5.53), SPEED score (11.00±3.30 to 5.42±2.15), TBUT (6.26±2.01 to 8.44±1.81), corneal staining (0.38±0.50 to 0.12±0.33) and conjunctival staining (1.69±1.93 to 0.62±0.85). In the doxycycline group, there was a significant improvement in MG function (4.63±1.41 to 10.63±5.91), SPEED score (13.42±4.17 to 9.42±5.47) and conjunctival staining (2.38±1.88 to 1.13±1.51), but the improvement in TBUT (6.90±2.56 to 7.59±2.03) and corneal staining (0.21±0.41 to 0.13±0.34) was not statistically significant (p=0.262 and p=0.414, respectively). At 3 months, SPEED score was significantly better in the VTP group (p˂0.05); other parameters were comparable between the two groups. Conclusion: A single 12-minute bilateral VTP procedure was significantly more effective than the 3-month daily course of oral doxycycline at improving the dry eye symptoms secondary to MGD. A single 12-minute VTP treatment was at least as effective as a dose of doxycycline for 3 months, in improving MG function and all measured signs of MGD. Given the minimal risk profile of the single VTP procedure over long-term doxycycline use, a single VTP presents a favorable alternative to long-term antibiotic use.

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Hagen, K. B., Bedi, R., Blackie, C. A., & Christenson-Akagi, K. J. (2018). Comparison of a single-dose vectored thermal pulsation procedure with a 3-month course of daily oral doxycycline for moderate-to-severe meibomian gland dysfunction. Clinical Ophthalmology, 12, 161–168. https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S150433

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