A randomized, sham-controlled trial of intraductal meibomian gland probing with or without topical antibiotic/steroid for obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction

Ahmad Kheirkhah, Hidenaga Kobashi, Jessica Girgis, Arsia Jamali, Joseph B. Ciolino, Pedram Hamrah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Importance: Obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) can be refractory to medical therapy. Intraductal meibomian gland (MG) probing may offer a potential therapeutic approach for these patients, but no randomized trials have been conducted to date. Objective: To assess clinical changes after intraductal MG probing for patients with refractory obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction. Design: Randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled clinical trial. Setting: Single-center, tertiary referral center. Participants: 42 patients with refractory obstructive MGD associated with lid tenderness. Interventions: Enrolled patients received one of the following treatments: 1) MG probing plus post-procedural topical sulfacetamide/prednisolone ointment (Blephamide®), 2) MG probing plus post-procedural lubricating ointment (GenTeal), or 3) sham probing plus GenTeal ointment. The probing was performed on the upper lids of both eyes. Main outcome measures: Primary outcome measures were symptoms as measured by Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Symptom Assessment iN Dry Eye (SANDE), as well as tear break-up time (TBUT). Secondary outcome measures were other clinical signs. Safety of the procedure was also evaluated by investigating the treatment-related adverse events. At baseline and 4 weeks after the procedure a masked observer evaluated the following outcome measures: symptom questionnaires, including OSDI and SANDE, upper lid tenderness, lid margin telangiectasia, corneal fluorescein staining, conjunctival lissamine green staining, TBUT, Schirmer's test, and meibomian glands yielding liquid secretion (MGYLS). Results: Compared to baseline, the MG probing/Blephamide® group showed significant improvements in both OSDI and SANDE scores and the MG probing/GenTeal group demonstrated a significant improvement only in SANDE score. In contrast, the Sham/GenTeal group did not show any statistically significant changes in symptoms. There were no statistically significant changes in clinical signs in any group at the 4-week visit, except for improvement of lid tenderness in the sham probing group. Conclusions: MG probing/Blephamide® results in a significant improvement in symptoms in patients with refractory obstructive MGD without any significant effect on clinical signs. Larger studies are warranted to determine the efficacy of MG probing. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov(identifier

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-856
Number of pages5
JournalOcular Surface
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Meibomian gland
  • Meibomian gland probing
  • Ocular surface
  • Symptom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'A randomized, sham-controlled trial of intraductal meibomian gland probing with or without topical antibiotic/steroid for obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this